As the sign on the glass door reads, the new Col-LAB is now open to students as a space for collaborative study. The Col-LAB, which is stocked with moveable furniture and whiteboards, cost $63,000 to renovate from the old front desk area.
The majority of this money – $55,000 – was raised at last year’s Pique Nique event, and the rest of the money was taken from the library’s auxiliary fund. In previous years the money raised at Pique Nique was used to pay the Foundation staff’s salaries, but starting last year, due to the reorganization of the Foundation – the money has been used to fund projects around campus. The Foundation hopes that this use of funds will provide a more tangible incentive for donors to part ways with their money.
“We saw a need for an area where students could have conversations and collaborate together,” Library Dean Brian Doherty, who joined New College in 2009, said. “The way this library is designed, with the big gap between the first and second floors, means that noises travel easily. We needed an isolated area for people to work together.”
The school contracted the company Ajax to do the renovation. The library had used this company in the past on projects and anticipates contracting them for future projects during the summer. The renovation job began in January.
Doherty said that the library chose not to put too many things in the space, until they see what students use the area for, and what students need.
“This area is designed for flexibility and is really an experiment at this point,” Doherty said, likening it to the Academic Resources Center’s (ARC) beginnings.
One thing that staff and students were excited to see put into the room were power outlets in the floors. Unfortunately this trend is unlikely to find its way into the rest of the library due to the expensive nature of the addition.
Because the library does not have a lot of money to spend, Doherty stressed the importance of choosing investments wisely. “We have to focus on our users, and what they want and need,” Doherty said.
On April 8, there was an opening ceremony, attended by President O’Shea and Provost Miles, complete with cake and punch.