$3 million donation jumpstarts Hale Library renovation

Hale Library on the Kansas State Campus in Manhattan, Kan. on April 9, 2017. (Photo by Justin Wright | Collegian Media Group)

Dave and Ellie Everitt, K-State alumni living in Florida, donated $3 million to K-State Libraries to support a $6.5 million renovation project for the first floor of Hale Library. The Everitts’ contribution is the first major donation to this project.

“The idea [to renovate Hale] first came about two years ago,” Lori Goetsch, dean of Hale Library, said. “It’s been in the planning phase for a couple of years, and now has really gotten kicked off because of this gift that we received from Dave and Ellie Everitt to jumpstart the fundraising for the project.”

One of the main goals of the renovation to the first floor of Hale Library is to open up the first floor entrance into the main library. Tiffany Bowers, junior in cultural anthropology, K-State Libraries ambassador and library help desk specialist, said the change will address the confusion many students face when learning that the main entrance is only available on the second floor.

“[The renovation] will be opening up the first floor entrance, which is something that the students have been wishing or looking for in the past because it can be a bit confusing getting into the library through the second floor entrances,” Bowers said. “I think that [renovating the library] will help create ease of access for visiting families and new students, especially to get into the library and make it easier on them to navigate things.”

In addition to updating the first floor entrance, Goetsch said the renovation will add much-needed study space. She explains what changes students can expect.

“Einstein Bros. Bagels, our café, will move from where they are to the other side of the wall,” Goetsch said. “So when you come in, the café will be right there to the right. In front of you, as you come in, will be a new exhibit area for our special collections and university archives department. The floor will have about 13 group study rooms. We’re the only Big 12 school that doesn’t have group study rooms for our students.”

Librarians who teach classes and many campus services can also look forward to new spaces tailored to their needs.

“There will be some instruction rooms and seminar rooms, so that our librarians who teach classes will have a space to do that in,” Goetsch said. “We’ll have a new Center for Digital Scholarship on that floor, and what we’re calling ‘partner space,’ which is a space where the English department’s Writing Center can come over, or the math tutors, Career Center, Powercat Financial, come to where the students are. We have about 10,000 people that come into this building each week; most of them are students. We want to find a way to bring those services to where the students are.”

Adam Carr, junior in human resources and library help desk specialist, explained the appeal of Hale Library.

“I’ve always thought there are tons of places on campus that people can study, but there’s not a lot of places that people want to study at,” Carr said. “I mean, sure, you can study in an empty classroom, but I would prefer if students were able to have a central location like Hale Library to do that studying.”

To students who may wonder why the Everitts’ donation will not be used to re-extend Hale Library’s hours, Bowers said that K-State Libraries’ sources of funding each go to different, specific areas.

“What a lot of students don’t think about is that it is hard to get the certain amount of funds for [this renovation],” Bowers said. “Though we did just get this big donation, and people may wonder why then with that we can’t be open 24 hours, it’s hard to get people to understand that there are just different pools that the money has to go into for the library to stay running and accommodating to all students.”

As K-State Libraries continues fundraising to reach the rest of their $6.5 million goal, Goetsch said they can begin solidifying the details of their renovation.

“We just got a timeline laid out,” Goetsch said. “We’ll start doing some more planning work with the architects at the end of September … while we’re continuing to fundraise for the project. The goal is to maybe start as early as next summer with the renovation.”

Because of the Everitts’ generosity, current and future students will be able to enjoy a space dedicated to their education.

“Having someone so dedicated to donate $3 million to us to help better facilitate peoples’ learning and give them space to do that is just so gracious of them,” Carr said. “I’m beyond thankful.”

I’m Stephanie Wallace, and I am the assistant news editor of the Collegian, a contributing writer, and a copy editor. I’m a senior, majoring in English major and minoring in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. You may have seen me riding my scooter around campus as I rush to my classes and much too many clubs. Some organizations I work with include the English Department Ambassadors, K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors and The Burrow — K-State’s chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance.