Science and Engineering Library to Begin Renovation Process

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The UC Santa Cruz Science and Engineering (S&E) Library will undergo a renovation process later this year, for the first time since its founding in 1991.

An anonymous foundation donated $5 million to UCSC to finance the transformation of the S&E Library’s top floor. The university has known for years the library would need substantial infrastructural changes, said university librarian Elizabeth Cowell in an email. Renovation efforts began in summer 2016 with the creation of additional seating on the upper level of the library and have slowly progressed since then. The grant is only expected to cover the costs of restructuring the top floor of the library.

“Planning for the infrastructure pieces of the top floor remodel [improved access to power, improved air flow and noise mitigation] will begin as soon as possible,” Cowell said in an email. “The [new student services] piece will wait until the Science and Engineering Library Advisory Task Force […] has made its recommendations to EVC [Executive Vice Chancellor] Tromp and me. They plan to have the report to us by mid-May.”

The university has not yet designated a start or end date for the S&E Library renovation. Cowell, Tromp and microbiology and environmental toxicology professor Don Smith lead the task force, which also includes one undergraduate and one graduate student.

The number of UCSC students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees has undergone a more than 100 percent increase since the S&E Library was built in 1991. This spur in growth led the university to plan for additional study rooms on the upper floor, expansions on the main floor, a cafe in the lower level and more individual and group seating throughout the library, according to a report by head of assessment and planning for the renovation Greg Careaga.

The renovated top floor of the library will be named after UCSC astronomy and astrophysics Professor Emerita Sandra Faber. Former U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Faber the National Medal of Science in 2013 for her research on the formation and evolution of galaxies.

The university plans to renovate the entire library when more funding is available, with the top floor being the first step in a multi-phase process.