Planned addition will double size of university's library

July 24, 1992|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Staff Writer

The Albin O. Kuhn Library at the University of Maryland Baltimore County campus will double in size by the fall of 1994 as the result of a $20 million expansion that begins with groundbreaking ceremonies today.

Rising seven stories and clad in blue-green glass and granite, the addition will house reading and study areas, stacks, multimedia facilities and staff offices. There also will be ceremonial meeting spaces on the top level for the state's Board of Regents and others, fea-turing views of the downtown skyline and the harbor beyond.

The construction start was expedited by four weeks as part of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's "Maryland Goes to Work" initiative, designed to speed up state construction projects and help jump-start the local economy. About 200 construction jobs are being created by the project.

"We wanted this addition. . . not only to provide space for our growing collections but to be the signature building for the campus -- a significant landmark which can be seen from a distance and a symbol, too, representing the relationship of the campus to the metropolitan Baltimore area," said UMBC's departing President Michael Hooker.

According to UMBC Librarian Larry Wilt, the addition will provide "desperately needed space for reference materials, high-tech equipment and study areas for UMBC's much enlarged graduate and undergraduate student body." The campus has about 9,000 undergraduates, 1,400 graduate students, and 2,000 faculty members and other staff members.

The 131,000-square-foot addition was designed by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott of Boston and Cho Wilks & Benn of Baltimore. The builder is Cam Construction Co. Inc. of Timonium.

To build the addition, workers must flatten a hill where the original chancellor's residence stood until 1967, when it was demolished.

Built in 1968 and expanded in 1974, the existing library will be remodeled to include a two-story lobby, 24-hour study room, circulation center and multimedia and reference departments.

The library is named after UMBC's founder, Albin O. Kuhn, who retired in 1983. It contains more than 550,000 books and bound volumes of journals and more than 1 million photographs.

The addition will double the amount of shelf space.

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