UNCW has received a $5.5 million commitment from the N.C. General Assembly to begin the planning process for the renovation and expansion of Randall Library. The project will meet the growing needs of the campus and the community for an adaptable space equipped with the latest technology and services.
As the university’s student body has grown, the Randall Library team has seen an uptick in the demand for space and assistance at the library. The total enrollment for fall 2018 was 16,747, with a substantial 16 percent increase in graduate student enrollment. Built in 1969, Randall Library has not seen major renovation since its expansion in 1986, when the full-time enrollment at UNCW was approximately 5,000 students.
“For 50 years, Randall Library has played an essential role in supporting teaching, research and community engagement at UNCW,” Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said. “Thanks to generous support from the General Assembly, we have the opportunity to design the Randall Library of the future, creating a space where people, ideas, information and technology will connect in innovative ways.”
University Librarian Lucy Holman said the design will focus on flexibility and service. Proposed renovations include swathes of open floor plans for current students to configure spaces and areas to meet their individual and collective needs. Future staff will have the ability to re-conceive spaces as learning needs evolve. There are plans to continue to build upon new spaces and services like the digital makerspace and faculty commons.
“As student learning and working styles continually evolve, our libraries must adapt quickly to student needs,” said Holman. “The new Randall Library will be a model of ‘learning on display.’ We know the libraries of 2030 and 2050 will be vastly different from the library we build in 2020, and we believe we are designing a building that will serve students well when it opens and will adapt to each new generation of students for the foreseeable future.”
The appropriated $5.5 million will fund the design process. The eventual capital improvement project will require a separate appropriation and/or philanthropic support from the Seahawk community. The proposed renovations support strong academic programs and maximize opportunities for institutional efficiencies, both outlined as priorities in the university’s Strategic Plan.
As part of the design process, the library will engage library users in various ways, including two feedback fairs for students. Information about the feedback fairs will be posted throughout the library and on the library’s new renovation and expansion webpage. Check the page often for updated information about the renovation and expansion project, including communication from our University Librarian, a timeline of milestones and the latest news.