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Groundbreaking for New Library on East Campus
by Ralph Alberico

Sketch of New Library
Architect's Drawing of New Library as seen from the Grove of Trees

Construction is scheduled to begin as early as the week of September 4th 2006 for a new library building on James Madison University’s East Campus.  The new building will be about 106,000 square feet in size, or about the same size as the Carrier Library, the university’s current flagship library.   The new library will supplement, rather than replace, the existing Carrier library.  The anticipated completion date for construction of the new library is Spring, 2008.


The new structure will be a five-story building that combines traditional book stacks and study spaces with dramatic open study areas offering views of the campus and distant mountains.  The library will house the science and technology collections but it will be open to students and faculty from all academic programs as well as to community members.  An Information Commons on the first floor will provide users access to information resources and new media, as well as media production technology and support services.   The building will incorporate study space for individuals and small groups, and open study areas with casual seating. A section of the building will be designed for 24-hour student use with a secure entrance, study seating, a computer lab, and a coffee bar. 


Most of the library’s fifth floor will be devoted to faculty support, and will house the Center for Instructional Technology and the Center for Faculty Innovation, which provides programs to promote faculty innovation in teaching and scholarship.  A faculty seminar room will also be found on the top floor, providing formal meeting space and dramatic views.

The new library will meet two critical needs at JMU: collection space for science, technology, and health sciences resources and study space in which students and faculty can collaboratively use information resources in a technology-rich environment. Flexibility and the ability to reconfigure space to support changing programs and new technologies have been incorporated into the design. The learning, teaching, collaboration, and reflection spaces in the new library will make it a focal point for academic community.

The architecture firm for the new building is The Design Collective of Baltimore, Maryland.  The firm also designed the Health and Human Services Library at the University of Maryland, and the new library at Morgan State University, Baltimore.  The contract for construction of the new JMU facility was awarded to Nielsen Construction Company of Harrisonburg.


The library building project is funded through the bond referendum for capital improvements in higher education approved by Virginia voters in 2002.

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