University of Hartford President Walter Harrison led a group of nearly 200 people in a “toast” to celebrate the start of the long anticipated expansion and renovation of the University Libraries. Complete with cupcakes and champagne, the event marks the beginning of a year-long construction project to further enhance Mortensen and Allen Libraries as centers for 21st century learning and collaboration.
Harrison noted that, although he is a big champion of books, he is keenly aware that as technology changes and improves, so must libraries. “As information technology has changed the way students get information, the role of a library becomes more important as an intellectual commons,” he said.
Among those Harrison thanked for their efforts to make the project possible were the University’s Board of Regents, the staff of the Mortensen and Allen Libraries, generous donors, and a broad array of faculty and staff who serve on committees and are working with architects and construction firms.
In his remarks, Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Fred Sweitzer, who chairs the Library Master Plan Steering Committee, reflected on the drastic changes libraries have made over the years. “So much of what we know about learning has changed, and people now want to learn together in collaborative spaces.”
New, flexible learning spaces are a major part of the expansion and renovation project, which includes three key components:
• Construction of a $10.6 million, three-story addition to the back of the Mortensen Library building
• Renovation to the main level of the Mortensen Library to include new technology and collaborative work space
• Relocation of the Allen Library to a newly renovated space that will be a “library within a library,” located on the garden level of the building Library Director Randi Ashton-Pritting concluded the celebration by donning a tool belt, hammer screwdriver and all, to cut a ceremonial ribbon of caution tape.
To learn more about the University Library expansion and renovation project, visit the renovation website.