Remodeled CMU library may have more tech, dining

A proposed revamp to Tomlinson Library at Colorado Mesa University would bring new technology, more space and dining opportunities to the 29-year-old building.

The university hired Denver-based architecture firm Bennett Wagner & Grody this month to fine-tune a list of needs for the library created by the school in 2008. The list includes adding a 5,200-square-foot expansion to the library’s third floor, creating a 42,000-square-foot addition to the building’s south side and adding computers, print stations, scanners, mobile devices and more wireless access for students, according to university documents.

Tomlinson is one of the few buildings at Colorado Mesa to remain untouched during a recent flurry of campus construction and renovation. Meanwhile, libraries, including Tomlinson, have changed drastically in the last three decades to include more technology and fewer new books, according to Bennett Wagner & Grody architect Martha Bennett.

“Having had this facility since the ‘80s, I think it’s time to show the evolution it’s been undergoing,” Bennett told CMU trustees during a board meeting Wednesday at the university.

In addition to technological updates, Bennett said she envisions more study rooms, greater use of natural light, better display areas and a division of uses so “quieter” spaces are on the top floors and the first floor is dedicated to noisier elements, including food service. The first floor may have “grab ‘n’ go” food offerings as well as a dining area built to seat up to 200 students, Bennett said.

CMU President Tim Foster said the dining space would respond to a growing need for food service on the south side of campus, where nearly half of the 2,065 students who live on campus reside.  “We’re about maxed out in our dining facility” on the northeast side of campus in the University Center, Foster said.

Foster said he is hopeful about the school’s chances of getting capital construction money from the state for the estimated $26 million renovation and expansion project because other requests on the list do not offer institutional funds to go with their requests for state dollars. Architects will return to CMU in April to conduct research and are expected to present firmer proposals in May.


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