AUSTIN, Texas—The University Federal Credit Union (UFCU) has given the University of Texas Libraries $500,000 for the renovation of the Perry-Castañeda Library’s (PCL) main floor.
The PCL will experience its first significant renovation since the building’s dedication in 1977. The UFCU grant will allow for the former periodicals room to be redesigned into a modern community study area while maintaining the academic resources available in the room.
In recognition of the donation, the west end of the main floor of PCL will be officially named “UFCU Student Learning Commons.”
Preliminary designs for the 11,000-square-foot space include installation of softer, casual lighting, adaptable new furniture arrangements, new shelving for paper-bound resources such as journals and newspapers and the addition of a student gallery space. Infrastructure and technology upgrades to the space will be incorporated as part of the overall plan.
“The timing of this contribution is propitious,” says Vice Provost and Libraries Director Fred Heath. “With the recent opening of the Blanton Museum there has been a sort of renaissance taking place on our end of campus.
“The vision for the space suits not only the changing needs of the modern library user, but fits well with the strategic model being played out in the area,” Heath says, noting the success of Prufrock’s, a coffee shop that opened last year in PCL. “The proliferation of technologies coupled with the lure of personal comforts will allow our community to optimize its use of the vastly superior resources of the library. With the help of partners like UFCU, the use of our resources will continue to grow.
“The Credit Union has been a magnanimous supporter of the libraries and the university, and this gift further demonstrates their dedication to enhancing the foundation of UT academics.”
Initial student reaction to the proposed changes has been positive.
“These renovations will make the PCL even more student friendly by providing additional accessible study space, which is always a keen need,” says senior Plan II Business major and Senate of College Councils Chairperson Kate Nanney.
This is not the first time that UFCU has shown its financial support of the Libraries. Last year as part of the Libraries’ Annual Giving program, the Credit Union provided a pivotal matching grant.
“Since a group of UT professors founded the Credit Union back in 1936, a strong bond has developed between the university and UFCU,” says CEO Tony Budet. “We are proud to extend our commitment to and support of UT Libraries with this gift towards the renovation of the PCL main floor and the creation of UFCU Student Learning Commons. We share Dr. Heath’s vision of libraries connecting communities and fostering life-long learning.”
The renovation is slated to begin in spring 2007 with completion of the project expected by August of the same year. The construction is not expected to interrupt services, and study spaces will be shifted to other parts of PCL while the project areas are affected.
For more information contact: Doug Barnett, University of Texas Libraries, 512-495-4388.