Down at the Mac Hall loading docks

The Taylor Family Digital Library is continuously facing obstacles and its completion date now seems completely forgotten. The original completion date was set for fall 2008, but current questions about placement and market competition have made this impossible.

The new library is planned to sit next to the current library tower–in front of the Mac Hall loading docks. Concerns regarding the possible need to move these loading docks are still under debate.

Campus Infrastructure associate vice-president Steve Dantzer noted he didn’t think moving the docks will be necessary.

“[The library] will not block the access to the loading docks, the loading docks will continue to function,” said Dantzer. “We will, however, have to make some adjustments to what the road looks like into those loading docks and that will be part of the Taylor Family quadrangle project.”

Students’ Union VP of operation and finance, Fraser Stuart said that the SU is currently attending meetings with industry professionals and campus architects trying to come up with different solutions to the possible problem.

“The Taylor Family Digital Library is going to be there,” said Stuart. “But I think it’s just looking at the amount of volume coming through different avenues to access this building and that’s why we’re currently in the open discussions with the university.”

Dantzer agreed that looking at other options was important, as changes might be necessary in the future.

“We feel it would be ideal in the future to understand if there are any alternatives available for having where [the docks] are because it would reduce the amount of traffic in the quadrant,” said Dantzer.

While neither Stuart nor Dantzer had a current estimate for the cost of the move, previous estimates reached $50 million. They also had no information on where the funding for such a project would come from. Dantzer pointed out that the university decided on a new building after discovering the high costs of renovating the current library tower and block.

“A portion of the books will be in the new building and a portion will go the new facility known as the high-density library,” said Dantzer. “There will be a second building located on 24 Avenue at Campus Gate. That will be a location to store lesser-used materials but in a very dense and compact fashion. It means as much as possible the space in the new library will be for learners.”

The university now hopes to dig the foundation for the Quadrangle in the spring and complete the project by fall 2010. Past plans to tear down Cragie Hall C have also been changed to ensure that building’s continued existence.

“Any kind of building, as long as it’s positively affecting students, is a step in the right direction,” said Stuart. “It’s important that we take it one step at a time and deal with each issue as it comes up.”