Kent State library plans restroom renovations

Walter Doerschuk

When Kent State students arrived on campus last fall, they were greeted by a newly renovated floor of the library, the Fab Fourth.

When they return to campus this fall, they will most likely see another revamp of the library.

University Architect Michael Bruder said the basic layout is done and approved for restroom renovations to be made. The library is planning on adding restrooms to the first floor and revamping the third, fourth and fifth floor restrooms. Women’s restrooms will be added on the fourth floor, and men’s restrooms will be installed on the fifth floor. The first floor restrooms will be placed near the elevators where Information Services is located.

Bruder said installing restrooms on the first floor has been talked about for 20 years.

He said when the library went to being open 24 hours, it faced challenges as to what to keep open late at night.

“The library couldn’t keep the first floor open and shut down the rest of the library,” Bruder said. “It can do that with restrooms if it wants to.”

Zach Long, freshman exploratory major, said having restrooms on the first floor enables library visitors to have better access to them.

“It makes it easier to get to since everyone enters on the first floor,” Long said. “It’s more convenient.”

James Bracken, dean of library and media services, said the library, which opened in 1970, is behind the times in terms of upgrades.

Bracken said he and Bruder shared a list of $32 million worth of possible renovations to the library with Kent State President Lester Lefton in May of 2011. The Fab Fourth floor and the first-floor restroom installations were part of the list.

Bracken said he likes what Lefton has contributed to help revamp the library already.

“God bless President Lefton,” Bracken said. “He has put $5-6 million into the building. It takes great wealth to build a great library.”

Other projects are on the list, but no plans have been enacted to complete the projects, Bracken added. He said the additional improvements include replacing windows, modernizing the elevators and replacing the carpet on the first floor. Bracken said he is interested in seeing these projects to fruition over the next 10 years.

Bracken also said he would like to put forth whatever money is necessary to renovate the library as it continues to age. However, other facilities on campus may need renovations as well, and the university may not have the money to do everything it wants to do.

David Rodenbucher, senior computer information systems major, said minor upgrades to an aging library building are needed. He said he would like to see smaller repairs, such as the addition of more outlets, but that a major overhaul of the library is not needed.

“Old buildings aren’t always bad,” Rodenbucher said.

Contact Walter Doerschuk at [email protected].