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Milne Building Renovation Information and FAQs

For Fraser Hall Library Service updates (including hours, item returns, IDS, collection availability), please visit  Library Services & Policies Updates.

Library Building Renovation Updates

Updated May 5, 2021

Construction on the William S. and John M. Milne Library is well underway with early design work coming to an end. Abatement is in progress and significant work will continue over the summer. The fully renovated library is expected to open during the 2024-25 academic year.

View the latest renderings (courtesy of JMZ Architects) below. A PowerPoint slideshow of the renderings is available here. The design was based on usage data, as well as feedback from the campus and local community. Library design experts also provided input.

Highlights include:

  • Large windows with beautiful views of the Genesee Valley
  • Increased seating throughout the Library
  • Group study rooms
  • A brand new events/multipurpose room for campus activities
  • A new cafe serving a variety of food and beverages, plus improved traffic flow makes it easier for students to grab meals on the go
  • New and improved lighting throughout the building
  • New second entrance

The Provost's Office, Facilities and Library teams are leading the Milne Library project; many more are involved in this collaborative effort, which is made possible thanks to funding from the State University of New York’s Capital Program, which is financed by the State of New York. During the library renovation, Fraser Hall Library continues to be open for the campus community. View the hours here.

Milne Architectural Rendering Multi-Purpose Room
Milne Architectural Rendering Exterior Southwest View
Milne Architectural Rendering Main Level Lobby
Milne Architectural Rendering Open Seating Area
Milne Architectural Rendering Exterior East View
Milne Architectural Rendering Upper Level Open Stairs

Please note these are renderings. The furniture and inside decor are shown for placeholders only.

Library Building Renovation FAQ's

Geneseo Plans $35 Million Library Renovation 2/13/20

Thanks to funding from the State University of New York’s Capital Program, which is financed by the State of New York, SUNY Geneseo is moving forward with a $35 million renovation of the William S. and John M. Milne Library. The fully renovated library is expected to open during the 2024–25 academic year.

The current plan includes temporarily relocating the library to its former home in Fraser Hall, where it will serve as the hub for library services, materials, and personnel.


Milne Renovation Announcement 2/11/20

After careful consideration, consultation with the State University Construction Fund, and discussion with outside experts, the College has determined that proceeding with a full renovation of Milne Library is the best use of resources and the safest long-term response.
The College, in conjunction with library staff and with substantial campus engagement, has been developing plans to renovate the library beginning two years from now. The necessary asbestos abatement project has led us to accelerate those plans. A full renovation now has a number of advantages:

  • It makes sense financially.
  • It saves us time on repairs that is better spent on full renovation.
  • It gives us an opportunity to update many of the systems in the library, which will significantly reduce our energy usage.
  •  It will give the campus an updated, modern library sooner than initially planned.

The fully renovated library is expected to open during the 2024–25 school year. Throughout the renovation process, full library services will continue seamlessly. Fraser Hall, which had previously served as the primary campus library location, will become an integral component of interim services until the renovated library is available.
Funding for the $35 million renovation project will be covered through the State University of New York’s Capital Program, which is financed by the State of New York. In addition to financing the renovation, the state will also pay the debt service costs incurred as a result of issuing bonds to support the renovation.
Throughout the renovation process, the College is committed to ensuring that Geneseo students, faculty, and staff have access to the library and information services vital to a liberal arts education.


How can a college close its library for four years?

We are closing the building, but library services, materials, and personnel will be available during that time. The current plan is to offer hybrid library services that will include quiet study spaces and food offerings with the goal of turning Fraser Hall into a library complex.

Why is the project going to take so long?

This project is more than just a remodel—it’s a full renovation. It also has to begin with the asbestos remediation, which includes cleaning and removing every item in the library. At the same time the remediation is taking place, the campus will move forward on the steps that precede the actual renovation: campus engagement and input from students, project conceptualization, architectural design, reviews and approvals, and updates to underground infrastructure and utilities. The actual building renovation itself will take less than four years—it’s the additional aspects to our project that increase the timeline. 

Why are you doing the renovation now? Can you reopen the library temporarily while you plan the renovation?

There are two projects: the asbestos remediation and the library renovation. As part of the remediation, books, furniture, carpeting, etc., will be removed from the library, making the space unusable for students. The pragmatic and fiscally responsible course of action is to move immediately into the renovation, which was already scheduled for two years from now. To remediate the asbestos, reopen the library, then close it again to renovate would have been inefficient and costly and would have ultimately resulted in the library being closed for a longer period of time. The State University Construction Fund has prioritized funding so that Geneseo can move ahead with the renovation now and complete the projects as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Why did the library close?

Inspections by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety have confirmed the presence of asbestos particles in areas of Milne Library. Air quality testing has determined the air does not pose a risk, and the presence of asbestos in a building does not necessarily constitute a health threat. However, because the safety of students, employees, and visitors is paramount, the College has decided to initiate a remediation project. As a result, the Milne library building will remain closed for an extended period of time. Milne Library core services continue to operate out of Sturges Hall.

Questions? Contact

Asbestos Abatement Project Information

When is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos is most hazardous when it is friable. “Friable" means that it is easily crumbled by hand, releasing fibers into the air. Sprayed-on asbestos insulation is highly friable. Asbestos floor tile is not.

Asbestos-containing materials are not considered dangerous if they are undisturbed and in good condition. If asbestos is disturbed or damaged, the risk of exposure increases. Dust containing microscopic asbestos fibers can become airborne, which increases the chance that the fibers can be inhaled or ingested.

Why is asbestos harmful?

If inhaled, airborne asbestos fibers can become lodged in lung tissue and cause scarring. This condition is known as asbestosis. Asbestosis is not a cancer, but asbestos exposure has also been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. People who smoke and are exposed to asbestos are at higher risk of developing lung cancer. 

What is the risk for asbestos-related disease?

The vast majority of people who have developed an asbestos-related disease have experienced an occupational exposure, where they have breathed millions of fibers per day for many months or years, due to the requirements of their job. It can typically be decades before symptoms develop. 

Why is there asbestos in buildings? 

Asbestos was used in building materials for many years for sound absorption and resistance to heat, electrical, and chemical damage. In 1973, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began regulating the use of asbestos as a part of The Clean Air Act. For more information, visit the Environmental Health and Safety’s asbestos page

What does the College do to protect me against asbestos harm?

SUNY Geneseo follows the EPA’s recommendations for managing asbestos in place. The asbestos management program includes:
• Updated asbestos surveys prior to any renovation or demolition project
• Removal of asbestos-containing materials only if the condition has deteriorated to the point of becoming hazardous or if the material will be impacted by work scheduled in its vicinity
• Annual asbestos awareness training for all employees with maintenance or custodial responsibilities who have the potential to come into contact with asbestos-containing materials

The College has been systematically abating asbestos from campus as it renovates areas. The amount of asbestos on campus is decreasing each year. Notification signs are posted at the entrances to buildings known to have asbestos-containing materials. Additional warning signs are also posted at the entrances to maintenance and mechanical spaces and custodial check-in points containing asbestos.

The department generally responsible for the oversight of asbestos regulations at SUNY Geneseo is Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).

Who do I contact with asbestos-related questions or concerns? 

Please contact

How is an asbestos abatement done?

All abatements are done in a controlled manner, in three phases: preparing the area; removing, enclosing, or encapsulating the asbestos; and clearance.

Preparation involves setting up an enclosure; sealing up all windows, doors, ventilation ducts, and other opening with plastic sheeting. Additional plastic sheeting may be used to cover all perimeters of the abatement, or if the abatement is small, a mini-enclosure may be set up. The area is then placed under negative-pressure, or vacuum, to ensure that no air will leak from the controlled area into adjacent areas. Airlocks are then set up to allow abatement workers to enter and exit safely, as well as for bagged waste to be removed for disposal. Prior to any work with asbestos material, Environmental Health and Safety coordinates with a third-party contractor to inspect the enclosure and verify that it is adequate for the planned abatement.

Actual removal is done mostly by hand to minimize the disturbance of the material. Water is used to wet the material to even further reduce its potential to release fibers. Special vacuum cleaners with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are used to capture any of the fibers that may have been released. After the gross removal of the asbestos-containing material is done, several cleanings of all surfaces within the enclosure are done using wet sponges or rags and HEPA vacuums, and air monitoring tests are done between the cleaning phases. 

Is it safe to be near an asbestos abatement project?

There are numerous regulations, guidelines, and specifications that govern how an abatement project is performed. Because of these stringent abatement requirements, it is safe to work adjacent to an asbestos abatement project.

What regulatory standards apply to asbestos at the College?

The following asbestos related regulations apply to asbestos activities at SUNY Geneseo:

  • OSHA Asbestos Construction Standard (29 CFR 1926.1101)
  • OSHA Asbestos General Industry Standard (29 CFR 1910.1001)
  • EPA NESHAP Asbestos Standard
Who do I contact with asbestos-related questions or concerns? 

Please contact