Maintenance issues delay TFDL opening

Heating and humidification issues in the Taylor Family Digital Library have pushed back the opening of the facility until at least mid-way through September and halted book transfers from the MacKimmie Library.

“There were some mechanical errors in the design that are now being corrected,” said University of Calgary facilities management and development vice-president Bob Ellard.

Ellard said the building’s heating was under capacity which in turn had an impact on dehumidification in the building. Dehumidification is vital to the maintenance of the library, especially for older collections.

“Both of these issues had to be addressed and it’s millions of dollars to repair,” said Ellard. “It’s not a little bit of money, it’s a lot of money.”

The university won’t be spending any more money on the fix though. Ellard explained the repairs will be dealt with through errors and omissions insurance, so the school won’t go over the budget they had for the original design.

“Someone screwed up,” said Ellard. “But we, the university, are not paying for someone else’s mistake.”

The school has suspended all movement of texts to both the TFDL and High Density Library, where similar issues are being dealt with. The HDL is a facility off campus that, when finished, will house the majority of the U of C’s library. Ellard said the school had hoped to have all the texts transferred by now.

“It’s very frustrating for everyone on campus, not just students,” said Students’ Union vice-president academic Alyssa Stacy.

Stacy said the school has hired more staff to help students and faculty access materials during the move.

The majority of repair work will be done over the summer, floor by floor, to fix the problem with an estimated completion date by July.

“Which really is unacceptable when we wanted to get everything open by May,” said Stacy. “For those who are in their fourth-year, they should be even more upset about this, because they don’t get to reap the benefits before they graduate.”

The inconvenience will primarily be to faculty and staff as Ellard said most of the work will be done after winter exams.

“The bottom line is with construction, you always have problems when you open a building,” said Ellard. “The problem with this building is we had a soft opening, people are using it and now we’ve got to take parts of it back.”

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