Fifth floor of library to undergo changes in coming years


The new Exploratory Advising Center is moving to the 5th floor of the Kent State library.

Christopher Woods

Kent State will embrace change as the fifth floor renovations of the University Library end this week.

Renovations began last semester when students were forbidden access to the fifth floor of the tallest building in Portage County due to asbestos problems.

“This building is of an age when asbestos is a part of its construction,” said Kenneth Burhanna, assistant dean for engagement and outreach for the university libraries department.

Fortunately, for those students who have studied on the floor, the asbestos is not toxic. “The only time it’s toxic is when you start to extract it,” Burhanna said.

Even so, the asbestos needed to be removed immediately.

 “We had to make sure to take the time to improve it and wipe it out,” Burhanna said. “It’s actually in material on the floor and the renovators used tools to get it out of there.”

Now that the fifth floor is rid of asbestos, it is safe for new departments to move in and new plans to be made for its future.

With the Undergraduate Studies department in Lake Hall looking for more space, the fifth floor is exactly what the department needed.

 “The crew has been up here for the past two weeks, working hard to make sure things are set for the big move,” said Shawn Owens of Miles Products, the company that has been renovating the fifth floor. “It was hard working with such short time, but it really pushed us to make sure we met the needs for Undergraduate Studies.”

Workers from Miles Products measured the spacing between office spaces, set up cubicles and cleaned the fifth floor to make sure the space was ready for Undergraduate Studies to move in.

“Undergraduate Studies will be on the fifth floor for two years,” said James Bracken, dean and professor of the University Libraries department. “We have to ‘buddy up’ and share our space     — not that we have a problem with it. We actually look forward to having them in our building.”

With the library being the temporary home for Undergraduate Studies for only two years, the fifth floor of the library will be available once more.

“One of the real big needs, we think around here, is that our faculty needs to be technologically savvy,” Bracken said.

With the library gaining new technological advances, including a 3-D printer, Bracken said the future of education, and the fifth floor of the library, will most likely involve technology.

“That’s what we’re looking for: a place where faculty can go to get an edge on technology and use it in their classrooms,” he said.

Bracken said the fifth floor will likely become an adult multimedia studio similar to the multimedia studio on the first floor.

 “We need to make some jumps and do some radical things in order to be in the top 100 schools in the country,” Bracken said.

Contact Christopher Woods at [email protected].