Entering the new year, the new Hatcher Learning Commons is still under construction. Though it was expected that the renovations would be finished at the start of 2023, the renovations are now set to be completed by late January. The prolonged renovations have brought about a variety of emotions in the Alma community.
Though the college has created a temporary library in Tyler Van Dusen, the limited space has led to many books that were once in the Alma College library to now be stored in the Wright Leppien Opera House. Because of this, action books that students could have found useful for research projects are now no longer on shelves but in storage instead.
“As a student who is undergoing two research classes, it is difficult not to have the full ability to find different materials for my classes,” said Xavier Tarvainen (‘24). “Many sources online only have limited sections of the books I need for references, and if the library were open, I wouldn’t have this issue.”
“We encourage students to continue studying at the library in Tyler Van Dusen. Research is better when you go and look around on the shelves, you find new books you didn’t know existed, which you can’t do when you’re online,” said Liping Bu, chair of the history department.
Although the current condition of the library is not an optimal environment for most people, many are looking forward to seeing what the new facilities will offer.
“Given the addition to the library, the ability for anybody to conduct research will be enriched with the new additions,” said Bu.
“I believe the library construction will allow me to study more effectively. The additional study areas that are being created will allow me to study in groups without worry if there will be room open for us to go to,” said Tarvainen.
Currently, the construction around campus has caused frustration among the student body due to blocked pathways.
“The construction almost led me to be late to one of my finals during the fall semester due to the fencing. I felt like I was a mouse in a maze trying to navigate a way to get into SAAC,” said Sofia Floros (‘26).
“The construction creates an inconvenience. It can be hard to navigate the fencing because it is constantly changing every day due to the construction crew working on different areas of the school,” said Tarvainen.
Another issue the construction has created is the need for more study spaces for students.
“I use the library as a study space. However, with the library being under construction, I have had to scramble to find a place to study that is not my dorm room. I have been going to DOW; however, most students also chose to study there, and with limited space, it can get crowded,” said Tarvainen.
Once the library is done, however, it will bring a new look to the campus and bring about new amenities.
“I am excited to see the finished result of the library. The more work that goes into the renovations, the more beautiful it looks in the campus center,” said Bu.
“I am excited about the new additions to the library. It will be nice to have Qdoba on campus. As a student-athlete, my schedule sometimes won’t line up with the Hamilton Commons, so having another dining option would be very helpful,” said Floros.
Though the prolonged construction may be stressful for many, the new opportunities and amenities that will be created from the new learning commons will be worth the wait.
Construction for the Learning Commons is predicted to be completed by Monday, Jan 23.
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