Breaking ground on a new library is once-in-a-lifetime chance for a librarian.
“Today’s libraries are no longer book warehouses,” said Meg Hawkins, the director of library services at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. “The library of the future must be a place of many functions but one goal.”
Hawkins, along with other SCF officials, celebrated the once-in-a-lifetime chance Monday morning as construction on the $17.68 million Library and Learning Center officially got underway.
Expected to be completed in January 2018, the 64,000 square-foot building will be housed “on the heart of campus,” next to the Neel Performing Arts Center. Features will include meeting rooms, a cafe, a seminar room, archive rooms, and of course, some books.
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“This is the centerpiece for the future of the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota,” said Carol Probstfeld, SCF president.
It’s a space that student government association vice president Juliana Arias said she is eagerly looking forward to. Arias has a passion for exploring other cultures, traditions and languages that have helped shape her life, she said. She spoke of her dual major, one of which is international relations, and her participation in Model UN as ways she has tried to expand her worldview.
$ 1 million The amount the SCF foundation is working to raise for equipment and furniture in the new Library
“Undoubtedly, I owe this feeling of glee and freedom to the books who have served as the provider of my dreams and to the libraries who have opened their doors for me,” she said.
Cell phone in hand, SCF board of trustees chairman Rick Hager said the library he used to know is a thing of the past.
“Our students today, that’s their library,” he said, holding his phone up.
Hager was originally shocked when he heard it’d take almost $20 million to build a library on campus.
“It’s more than just a library,” he said Monday.
Funding for the library came from the Florida Legislature in two parts. The first chunk of the money helped start the project, hiring Williamson Dacar Architects and getting a design in the works. When the rest of the money came through, the design was able to become a reality.
“Now we just wanna go dig some dirt,” said Rick Lentz, executive vice president of Cutler Associates, the project’s general contractor.
In their words
A number of speakers talked about what SCF meant to them and what breaking ground on the new library would mean for future generations
Rep. Jim Boyd: “This is a day we’ve all been waiting on. This made a big difference in my life. This gave me a great foundation and a great preparation.”
Senator Bill Galvano: “The impact that the State College of Florida is not just local. It begins here but it extends throughout the state and frankly, throughout the United States.”
Chris Wellman, director of facilities management: “This will be an incredible building to ensure student success.”
Juliana Arias, student government association vice president: “It is an environment where everyone can find something to feel comfortable with. And despite its silence, it is a warm and candid space that allows minds to grow.”
Meg Hawkins, director of library services: “This library is a legacy from all of us to our future students and to the people of Manatee and Sarasota counties for decades to come.”