St. John’s students will have to wait until mid-Fall before they can enjoy a fully-functional library, said building officials.
University Librarian Theresa Maylone said remodeling to the third and fourth floors of St. Augustine Hall caused intense vibrations to the riser pipes – pairs of pipes that carry water up and down the building to provide air conditioning.
The tremors, she said, caused the pipes to burst, flooding various areas on the floors, including the first floor’s Freshman Center and Writing Center.
“Right this moment, none [of the floors] are really functioning,” Maylone said. “But most of the first floor was restored over this past weekend.”
The set-back has pushed the official opening of the renovated University library from its originally scheduled completion date of August 15 to somewhere around October.
The University Librarian said this is not the first time St. Augustine has experienced flooding.
“We’ve had flooding throughout the building for years,” she said. “But as the construction on the third and fourth floors of the library went on, the vibrations from that gave way to more flooding.”
Maylone added that the summer flooding has prompted the University to replace all of the pipes and fix the air conditioning system to prevent future problems.
Since most of the library is not functional yet, a library service desk in the Academic Commons will be set up to help students with checking out and reserving books, as well as other functions.
There will be no public access to the print collections, but the library staff will be able to retrieve books for students and faculty.
The writing and freshman centers will continue to operate as normal.
Additionally, quiet study space will be available in different areas of campus to make up for the lack of library accessibility.
According to Maylone, the west side of the Academic Commons will be available for quiet study from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., while the Writing Center will provide the same services at night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Bent Hall rooms 277A and 277B will also house quiet study on most days but all quiet study hours are subject to revision.
Maylone also noted that the Academic Commons will feature around a dozen computers and a few printers, while the Sullivan Lab will house two new photocopy machines.
Students seem a bit nervous about not having a fully accessible library in time for the first few weeks of classes.
“I used to be there every night for hours,” said sophomore Molly Cronin. “It’s going to be a big disadvantage.”
Sophomore Tracey Cannova agreed. “Upstairs is where I usually study,” she said. “The downstairs is just too crowded.”