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Future library stands iron clad at campus

The noise of construction can be both seen and heard around campus, and as the new building starts to take shape, many students may be wondering what they will have to look forward to in Palomar College’s Library/Learning Resource Center.

It will be a more modern learning space than the current library not just in its appearance, but in what it will offer.

The $69 million project was first proposed almost 10 years ago, after the college received $694 million in bond money from San Diego County in 2006 as a result of Proposition M being passed. The current library, which was constructed in 1986, was designed for a smaller school whose students had much less of a need for technology in their studies.

“The way people use and move through libraries is different,” said Tamara Weintraub, co-chair of the Library/media center department. “The infrastructure of the new library will better accommodate modern use of technology, like better power and more outlets for personal devices.”

The four-story library will include meeting rooms, training rooms, offices, archives, and an adaptive technology center. The learning resource center will include a faculty technology center, computer commons, multipurpose lab, group study rooms, proctoring rooms, open lab tutoring area, work rooms, and areas for reading and studying.

The top and bottom floors will be a traditional library space, so students will be able to easily access books, or read on the top floor with a view. The library will also feature an atrium and lots of open window space to give students a captivating backdrop to their reading and studying environment.

The building was designed by LPA Architecture in San Diego, which also designed the Humanities building, the Teaching and Learning Center, and the Multi-Disciplinary building.

“The library will visually open up the campus to the many students who enter from lot 12”, said Ozzie Tapia, the building’s architect and LPA associate. “The contemporary architecture will provide the building with an aesthetic that better suits Palomar College’s pursuit of excellence.”

There have been many changes in how students learn since the current library was built, and although the library staff has been able to adapt to many of these changes, such as the integration of computers, the infrastructure of the building puts limits on further advancement. The new library, however, will have an entire floor dedicated to academic technologies. This floor will have a large open space for school computer usage, charging stations, the ability to check out items such as iPads for library use, and of course, a strong Wi-Fi signal.

Dr. Najib Manea, the manager of the Academic Technology Resource Center, is active in the planning process. “The Academic Technology Center used to just be a place that students could have access to computers,” he said, “But now, we want to arrange the seating so that students can easily collaborate and share with their own devices.”

The old library will be renovated to become an all-in-one student services center housing Admissions and Records, Student Assessment, Counseling, the Transfer and Career Centers, International Student Services, Veterans Services, College Health Services, GEAR-UP, TRIO, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, and Disability Resource Center services under one central location for students.

The metal and concrete structure growing out of the ground in the middle of campus will be the skeleton of the new library, which is predicted to be open in the spring of 2018. The architecturally striking and technologically advanced library will become the new face of Palomar College, and in the meantime, something for both students and staff to look forward to.

 

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