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Major Milne Library Announcement

February 11, 2020

To the Campus Community:

I have news to share with you about significant additional investment in our campus that will positively impact the entire community. I appreciate your patience and support as we continue to assess the situation at Milne Library and explore our options for the best resolution. After careful consideration, consultation with the State University Construction Fund and discussion with outside experts, we have determined that proceeding with a full renovation of our library is the best use of our resources and the safest long-term response.
 
As many of you know, in consultation with library staff and with considerable campus engagement, we developed plans to renovate the library that were scheduled to begin in two years. The recent discovery of asbestos particles in the Milne Library, however, has led us to revisit those plans and accelerate the Milne Library renovation.
 
While it is true that the presence of asbestos in a building does not constitute a health threat, and air quality testing shows the air in Milne does not pose any risks, we wanted everyone to feel completely comfortable visiting our library. We believe that asbestos abatement would be a temporary solution, one that will inevitably delay our ultimate goal: to fully modernize our library and enhance our library resources.
 
A full renovation also makes sense financially and avoids unnecessary rework. It will give us an opportunity to update many of the systems in the library, which will significantly reduce our energy usage and provide a valuable asset for the campus that will be heavily used by students. We are thankful that the 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. Not only does the state finance the renovation, they also pay the debt service costs that are incurred as a result of issuing bonds to support the renovation.
 
Finally, renovation now means that Geneseo will have an updated, modern library sooner than we had initially planned.
 
Our fully renovated library is expected to open during the 2024-25 school year. Throughout the renovation process, we are ensuring full library services will continue seamlessly. You can expect Fraser Hall, which had previously served as our primary campus library location, will become an integral component of our interim services until the renovated library is available.
 
I want to stress that throughout the process we are committed to ensuring that Geneseo students, faculty and staff have access to the library and information services that are vital to a liberal arts education. We are continuously monitoring student usage of newly-designed study spaces and will add more temporary space as needed. We also recognize that student needs will increase during midterms and finals, and will ensure that we have the capacity to increase designated quiet study space as needed.
 
Please visit our Milne Library Project webpage for the latest information about our library service offerings and related campus space options.
 
I am grateful for the helpful feedback on library services which allowed for our early campus responses to be quickly implemented and am committed to keeping the communication channels open. As a reminder, questions and/or concerns regarding this project should be sent to milneproject@geneseo.edu.

I look forward to keeping you informed of updates about the renovation and additional resources as they become available. We will also update you on the status of other projects scheduled or in progress.
 
Thank you for your patience as we work in the long-held spirit of our Geneseo community to overcome significant challenges together through the use of our intellect, collaboration and creativity.

Sincerely,

Denise A. Battles
President