Over the first five weeks of school, students and faculty alike have been adapting to the absence of one of Deerfield’s most used buildings: the library.
The school waits in anticipation as renovations for this fine study space continue. Director of the Library Ms. Charlotte Patriquin commented, “I’m looking forward to seeing all our plans come to fruition. We’ve spent a few years listening to what students want, listening to what teachers want, and working with the architects to put this all together into a whole.”
Mr. Jeffrey Galli, the project manager of the library’s renovation, reports that the library will have many new features, including a telecom room (a place where students and teachers can hold skype meetings), an innovation space, and an innovation classroom. He also noted, “The study rooms should be soundproof as well.”
These renovations do not come without cost. There are long-term benefits as well as short-term drawbacks. In exchange for the renovations, financial spending, the relocation of certain classrooms, the limitation of physical resources, and the loss of study space are some inconveniences Deerfield has endured this fall for a better library.
According to Mr. Galli, the school has $11.5 million as its budget for the project. Deerfield worked alongside the firm Architectural Resource Cambridge. Ms. Patriquin added that about three years of work were put into this project from conception to construction. On top of the time and money spent, the library department, faculty, and physical plant relocated the most important 5-10% of the library’s resources (books, DVD’s, headphones, videos, etc.) into the Mods while moving the rest into storage. We have all these departments to thank for their hard work.
Mr. Jan Flaska, of the Philosophy and Religion Department, noted, “My classes were in there. I had an office in [the library]. But it was also just a great central place to meet… Arriving on campus, we forget how convenient it was… but we know there’s a renovated library on its way, so we’re okay with it.”
Last year, students went to the library for a distraction-free study space. So far this year, the Mods are fulfilling that function, but students have not embraced this new space. Maddie Moon ’16 explained, “In terms of what we’re given, the Mods are the best we can do. It’s very well set up, but far from campus.” The distance especially has kept Moon and other students from using the Mods consistently. Moon noted, “I’m excited to get my study space back.”
Ms. Patriquin acknowledges that the Mods “are a little out of the way.” She added that “students are finding their way slowly over here.”
While the Mods serve as a surrogate library, students and faculty alike anticipate what the new library will hold. New offices such as College Advising and the Academic Deans’ offices will be located in the library along with the Center for Service and Global Citizenship and the Archives. “Having all those new offices in one building will be very useful for the students,” Moon commented.
The renovations will significantly increase space. “Compared to the old floor area,”Mr. Galli said, “the whole lower level becomes much more usable space. We cleared a lot of that up. The main floor remains about the same, and we lose a little bit of space on the upper floor, but overall, I would say that we gain about 10,000 square feet.”
With open classrooms for students and the Mods available for all members of the school, everyone is adjusting to the absence of the library. But with the concessions and sacrifices members of the school have made, it seems like this new incredible library will be worth it.