No 24-hour study room available at Ablah during construction 

Tony+Lashinski%2C+a+worker+from+Van+Asdale+Construction%2C+discards+pieces+of+drywall+in+the+Ablah+Library%27s+24-hour+study+room+on+Tuesday%2C+Oct.+29%2C+2019.+Construction+began+on+Monday%2C+Oct.+28.+When+completed%2C+the+study+room+will+house+a+restroom+and+an+emergency+blue-light+phone.

Easton Thompson

Tony Lashinski, a worker from Van Asdale Construction, discards pieces of drywall in the Ablah Library's 24-hour study room on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Construction began on Monday, Oct. 28. When completed, the study room will house a restroom and an emergency blue-light phone.

Construction on Ablah Library’s 24-hour study space began Monday and is expected to be finished by December. But in the meantime, students will be without an all-night study area. 

Ginger Williams, associate dean for academic engagement and public services, said providing an interim 24-hour study space would be impossible for security reasons. To help fill some of the gap, the library is making adjustments. 

“We added some chrome books that students can check out over night that can leave the library, so if people were using [the 24 hour study space] for the computers, they can at least take those out of the library and use those,” Williams said.

The library has also adjusted its hours. 

“We’re going to extend our hours later, ‘til 2 a.m. before finals,” Williams said. “This semester,  we’re going to extend some of them to 7 am, a little earlier in the morning, for students who want to come in and print,” she said.

Williams said the study room has become a popular fixture at the library. 

“I would call [the people who use the 24-hour study space] a small but loyal following. There are people that use it quite frequently,” she said. “We have security cameras in there and every time I check it, there have been students in there over night … on computers, textbooks out.” 

The study room has been open for 20 years, which Williams said was enough time to warrant an update. 

That update adds a restroom to the 24-hour study room and expands the room out into the lobby of Ablah, greatly increasing the size of the area. The project will also add an emergency blue-light phone. 

Williams said that she’s heard nothing but positive responses from students about the plans for the study room. 

“[The students] are really excited about it,” Williams said. “I’ve talked to a few classes about it when I teach. They’re all really excited. . . I’ve shown the students the plans, including the fabrics and furniture layout and things like that.” 

“It’s just going to look a lot more modern than it does right now, so I think they’re really eager to see that come to life.”

The study area’s expansion was originally part of last semester’s failed “Shock the Future” referendum, in which students rejected a proposal that would have raised student fees by $6 per credit hour in order to fund $20 million of the new business building and $18.6 million in other infrastructure priorities. 

“Even though that did not pass, I was committed to making sure we continue to move through some of these projects,” Provost Rick Muma said at last Wednesday’s Student Government Association meeting

Funding for the library’s $150,000 construction cost will come from shrinkage funds, which the university collects from salaries of vacant positions across campus.

Muma described the 24-hour study area project as a top-priority item. 

“That’s one of the No. 1 projects that, when getting feedback, students wanted to get done quickly,” Muma said.