By Aaron Youngblood
Plans are in the works on BenU’s campus to make some layout changes. The changes will start with Kindlon’s library in April. To optimize the space that is currently wasted, two levels of the library will be moved to the lower level of Kindlon, according to Chad Treisch, the executive director of campus design, planning and construction management.
“Square footage wise, we’re losing about half a floor, but you take that and you optimize the way everything is laid out. The goal is not to take space away from the students,” said Treisch.
According to Treisch, the library changes came about due to the evolving nature of digital technology and the increase of internet use for research. Student complaints about the noise levels in the library also motivated the University to take action.
Treisch explained that the plan is to remove all resources from the fourth and fifth floors.
According to Marco Masini, there has been discussion about using those floors as the new home of University administration.
“There is a very good possibility…those are some of things that we have to look at,” said Masini.
According to Treisch, the second and third floors will become permanent study space for students and the library’s new home will be the lower level of Kindlon. He explained that the lower level will also include four new classrooms and more study areas. It may also house a new computer lab.
“We will start with the lower level [of Kindlon] in April,” said Treisch.
According to Masini, the bulk of the transformation will be during the summer.
“It’ll take place during the summer. We’re not going to impact student studies or their environment during the year,” said Masini.
Treisch says that by implementing new organizational methods for the books, all circulation books will be able to fit in the lower level, dispelling the myth that moving the library to the lower level will drastically reduce much needed space.
“We are putting the books in a more defined location rather than sprinkling them throughout the second, third, fourth and fifth floors,” Treisch explained.
Treisch says that the second and third floors will only have reference books, which are not available for circulation.
The paramount concern for many is the library’s lack of study space.
According to University Librarian, Jack Fritts, the library is overflowing with students who are in need of study areas.
“Even though we are still relatively early in the semester, our study rooms are all in use most of each day, and there are as many as 200 people in the library at certain times of the day,” Fritts added.
The second and third floors will also become areas available for group studying sessions, allowing students to talk freely without being reminded to quiet down, according to Treisch.
“Kindlon is the main building on campus. The change is necessary because the library is too loud for studying,” commented sophomore Ryan Nguyen.
“The study space for the students will actually increase,” Treisch explained. “In addition, we are adding more color, new carpet and make sure table and chairs are aligned easier…When the students find two floors of nothing but study space, I think it will be a great enhancement [to student morale].”
“I feel this move is not beneficial to the students whatsoever and that in the long run, it’s going to increase tuition,” shared junior Cesar Garcia.
Dr. William Carroll, president of Benedictine University, was unavailable for comment about the possible movement of the executive offices as of press time.
According to Masini, this renovation, along with others, will be paid for from donations. In addition to the donations, there will be a reduction of expenses so that the plans may successfully be added to the budget.
Students seem to have mixed feelings about the situation.
“It doesn’t make the University look good by scaling down the library,” Daanish Ashraf, a student IT Helpdesk worker
“I think it will clear up some much needed space,” added freshman Joe Ward. “The books downstairs will clear up a lot of room to study.”
According to Treisch, the University will release a media packet to students in the fall. It will outline more specific logistics pertaining to the changes, including how the new organization of Kindlon will work to enhance Benedictine.
In addition to the change of Kindlon, the University plans to construct a new residence hall, a College of Business building and a performing arts building. A groundbreaking for the remodeling of the farmhouse is scheduled for March 2.