Dozens of students and faculty gathered Tuesday morning to break ground on UC Santa Barbara’s $76.4 million library addition and renovation.
Expected to be completed in just under two and a half years, the LEED certified project will add on a 60,000-square-foot, three-story building and renovate roughly 92,000 square feet of existing space. The updated structures will house a grand walkway, new special collections facility, new arts library, 24-hour information center, naturally lit reading galleries, expanded wireless access, more power outlets, and a faculty collaboration studio.
Several people spoke at the ceremony, including Chancellor Henry Yang, University Librarian Denise Stevens, and College of Creative Studies Dean Bruce Tiffney. Excited for future generations of Gaucho scholars, the speakers talked about the importance of an up-to-date multipurpose facility for a growing academic and research community that sees more than 1.5 million visitors shuffle through its doors each year. Hardhat tours of the project followed the ceremonial photo op.
Marc Fisher, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Campus Architect, later said the remodel of the existing library is one of the last major projects to seismically retrofit buildings throughout the campus. The plans for a remodel has been in the works for 14 years and the library was last renovated 35 years ago. Some of the collections have relocated, but the building will remain open for the duration of the project.