The space is quiet and mostly empty at 8 a.m. It smells of fresh paint, almost like a new car. The Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on the first floor of Hale Library opened Wednesday morning, fifteen months after a fire put the whole building out of commission in May 2018.
Mallory Boone, junior in Spanish, said she used to study in Hale a couple days a week for multiple hours at a time before the fire.
“I missed it a lot in this past year,” Boone said.
Within an hour of the first floor’s opening, Boone had already set up shop to begin studying.
“It’s very nice, well updated,” Boone said. “Lots of outlets, good places to hang out and do classwork.”
However, some students may feel as though the space is less suited for work compared to “the old Hale” setup.
“It looks great aesthetically, but it sucks that there are less tables for people to work at than before,” Mijail Corimanya, senior in biology, wrote on an online K-State forum. “They sacrificed productivity for cosmetics.”
Nick Beasley, junior in secondary education, said it was important for the renovations to hit the mark.
“I was really worried because Hale is so central and everyone uses it — or used it,” Beasley said. “I really wanted them to do it right.”
Beasley said he attended student focus groups to give his input on what he wanted to see from the renovations. Although the sessions weren’t well attended, he said he thinks the renovations turned out well.
“Even with that, I think they did a phenomenal job, and I’m sure that everyone who went to those is going to be very, very pleased,” Beasley said.
Jansen Penny, student body president and senior in industrial engineering, stopped by to check out the learning commons on opening day.
“I’m definitely really, really excited, especially since we didn’t have any space in the last year, to see what this first floor can do to help students academically,” Penny said.
While restoration and renovation work continues on Hale, Penny said the results on the first floor seem to bode well for the rest of the building.
“I think this is a great foundation as well for what the rest of the building is going to do for students and it’s a great start to have the first floor open for this year,” Penny said.