Sol Harris Day Architecture

The University library, Kolenbrander-Harter Information Center (KHIC), had long remained a warehouse for books with many quiet spaces for solitary study. At the same time, growth within the Engineering Department at Mount Union required additional space to house the soon to be displaced Mathematics Department. As a result, the University of Mount Union sought to consolidate their book collection to free up space for expanded group study areas and begin to infuse additional academic and faculty space. The new designs improve the overall University performance by tapping into the currently under-utilized space in the KHIC library.

Services

  • Master Planning
  • Facility Assessments
  • Space Utilization
  • Visioning
  • Estimating/Scheduling
  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • FF&E

It’s the only place I’ve been to study and don’t plan on going anywhere else if I don’t have to, because it’s everything you need in a quiet study spot.

Psychology Major, University of Mount Union

Project Goals

After initial renovations to the Learning Center, creating a new café and learning commons, the University sought to develop a master plan for the connecting KHIC library. From meetings with a core group of stakeholders and student focus groups, a clear set of goals for the library was established, bringing a focus to the design and planning process:

  • Allow for technology to be on display
  • Provide a clear understanding of a home for each department [departments in action]
  • Physically connect departments for shared learning
  • Opening up spaces with glass & creating a connection between disciplines
  • Clear circulation paths [both horizontally & vertically]
  • Clear circulation thru building by opening up & connecting spaces
  • Creating flexible study & group meeting spaces

Building Organization

In 2017, a master plan study was conducted to determine the space needs, best reorganization of the spaces and a phased construction schedule that would allow for continued use while developing the new spaces. The book collection was analyzed and reduced in two ways, freeing up space. First, the collection was decreased by approximately 30%. Secondly, the collection was consolidated into compact shelving on the Third Floor, a space where the structure was previously designed to hold the added weight. The reorganization of the new spaces included:

  • Expanded group study areas
  • Enhanced student study space
  • Relocation of the WRMU radio station
  • A communication digital classroom and studio
  • Creating innovative group “maker spaces”

Interior Concept

Once the books were consolidated, the master plan allowed for an infusion of the Mathematics, Communication, and Foreign Language academic spaces; and an infill of the learning commons and study spaces. The installation of compact shelving allowed the University to maximize the re-allocating of space and continue to meet the needs of students by offering:

  • Flexible furniture that caters to the tech-savvy Millennial generation
  • A variety of furniture types for both individual and group learning/study
  • Rich textural finishes for enhanced aesthetics
  • A balance between the existing building and new renovations
  • Student workflow between the new Learning Center and library spaces

Highlights

  • Met with several departments at the University to determine programming needs, worked with the President’s Council to prioritize the program and created a master planning document to determine project phasing.
  • Created/expanded learning commons and quiet study spaces with improved access to power and technology.
  • Consolidated books to a central location within new compact shelving units.
  • Created new faculty offices for the Mathematics major with adjacent conference and group study rooms.
  • Improvements were incorporated to reduce energy use by upgrading the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems with more efficient fixtures that take advantage of LED's, occupancy sensors and low flow fixtures.

Meet the Team

  • Domenic Ferrante
  • Yvette Zingery
  • Abigail Maurer
  • Andrew Lallathin

Awards

  • AIA Akron Design Award - Interiors

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