Ut Library Undergoing Big Change

An 80-foot crane is being used to remove the brick and block wall from the east side of the library.

The Carlson Library on the University of Toledo’s main campus will undergo a dramatic exterior transformation this summer.

Crews are removing the 1973-vintage building’s brick and block east side wall and replacing it with glass stretching from the second through the fifth floors.

The new facade near the Thompson Student Union is a striking component of a $3 million library renovation to be largely complete by the fall semester’s start. The work follows third-floor and fourth-floor interior renovations done last year, all part of a $6 million, multi-year facelift paid for with state capital dollars.

The project’s final phase will fill the library with natural light, as the dated and dark exterior is swapped for a modern glass curtain designed by architectural firm The Collaborative, which has a downtown Toledo office.

“It will allow a lot more light and just an entirely new kind of space — a good adaptation of a building built in the 1970s,” said Barbara Floyd, interim director of university libraries.

Mosser Construction Inc. of Maumee is using an 80-foot, 50-ton crane to take down the masonry. The equipment will remain on site for a couple of months.

The university chose to replace the east wall because it gets morning sun, but it won’t heat up the library to the degree a glass wall on the south or west sides would, said Chris Levicki, who works in facilities and construction for UT and is managing the library project.

The rest of the library work going on this summer includes removing some of the second floor to create a higher ceiling for, and thus open up, a portion of the first floor.

A student lounge for military veterans, current service members, and dependents using veterans-related educational benefits will be built on the second floor. The current lounge is in Rocket Hall, a further hike from the core academic classroom space on campus.

Haraz Ghanbari, UT’s director of military and veteran affairs, thinks more students will have the ability to drop into the library location to study or spend time together. He said the new lounge also will be open longer hours.

“It’s an opportunity just for students to connect, kind of have their own place,” he said.

The space will be divided into two portions — one area where veterans can socialize and another with computer carrels for studying or working online.

Roughly 500 students would be eligible to use the lounge.

The library’s north entrance will be closed until Aug. 11 for construction work.

Other state-funded university projects this summer include $1.6 million for work on North Engineering, Gillham Hall, and the Law Center on the main campus, as well as the Paul J. Block, Jr., Health Science Building and Mulford Library at the former Medical College of Ohio. The money will pay for roof and exterior masonry waterproofing improvements.

The state also gave UT $811,920 for a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning project in the North Engineering building. Those projects are expected to be finished by early August.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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