On May 22, 2018, Hale Library went up in smoke after an accidental fire started on the roof.
Left with extensive smoke and water damage, Kansas State University began the work to recover and renovate the beloved library.
Fifteen months later, on Aug. 28, 2019, the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opened its doors to the public for the first time since the fire.
Complete with 14 reservable group study rooms, whiteboard walls and hundreds of chairs for seating, the first floor of Hale offers many new features and opportunities for students and the Manhattan community.
“We are trying to provide students as much study space as we possibly can since they went without that for the past year,” Lori Goetsch, dean of libraries said.
But the renovations go beyond added study space. There are plans to create a community room to serve as a meeting space for lectures and programs, as well as space for campus resources like the Writing Center and Powercat Financial Services to host regular office hours.
The Sunderland Innovation Lab is another feature that will be added to the first floor.
“It [the Sunderland Innovation Lab] will be a space where students can get exposed to things like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3-D printing, media production — all kinds of interesting things many students will find in the workplace when they leave the university,” Goetsch said.
During its first few weeks of being open, many students have stopped by to see what’s new.
McCade Smith, a freshman studying chemical engineering, said he never saw Hale before the fire, but he heard from many people that Hale was a special place on K-State’s campus.
“I think this place looks pretty great, and I really like how quiet it is,” Smith said. “It really does feel like a study space.”
For some students, the best features are the smallest details implemented in the extensive renovations.
“All the plug-ins are great. I feel like there can never be enough of those,” said Becca Regehr, junior in kinesiology.
While the renovations for the rest of the library are ongoing, Goetsch said everything is on schedule as of now. The second floor is set to open at the beginning of the spring 2020 semester, and the rest of the library later in 2020.
Philanthropic donations funded the majority of the first floor renovations and will continue to help fund the rest of the renovations in addition to the university’s insurance.
“We are very grateful to the university community for the support we’ve gotten over the past 15 months since the fire,” Goetsch said. “K-State talks about itself as a family, and this really showed the family side of K-State. We got offers of help for space, financially — all different kinds of support. I think it really speaks well of the K-State family.”
For more information on how you can support the Hale Library renovation, contact Chris Spooner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-775-2130.