By Ciera L’Huillier, Brooke Caldwell & Grace Prust
The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB) is set to embark on a new chapter in its history with the construction of a brand new library in place of the Cofrin Library.
Initial speculations of the project were made in April of 2021 as the campus awaited approval from the chambers of the Wisconsin State Legislature (WSL) as well as a joint finance committee. It was then approved in early June of 2021 by the WSL and was also confirmed by the UWGB Chancellor, Michael Alexander. Since then, there has been excitement and anticipation by students and faculty alike. There are many rumors circulating about the topic and the impact it will have on campus in the upcoming years.
For years, the old library had been a central hub of the campus, a place for students to gather, study, and find the resources they needed to succeed. But over time, the facility had become cramped and outdated, with shelves cluttered with old books and technology that isn’t suitable for today’s work. Taulant Matraku, a current Computer Science major, stated, “I would love to see the library become more modernized. I think that the improved resources of technology will increase enrollment for campus and make it appear less outdated.” UWGB students, faculty, and staff can all agree that the library is in need of major renovations, as the building itself was built in the 1970s. Paula Ganyard, Director of Libraries, stated the current building has reached its lifespan. “It was built at a time when students needed a room with a typewriter rather than wireless computing devices,” said Ganyard.
Despite the best efforts of librarians and staff, the old library simply couldn’t keep up with the needs of a growing and dynamic student body. “The new building will provide more spaces that have a feel of the Library Commons, which are open and flexible spaces that allow for both individual and group work,” said Ganyard.
As a result, students and faculty alike had long dreamed of a new library, one that would be modern, spacious, and equipped with the latest technology. “We will be able to offer technology and information resources to further support the problem-focused education that UWGB offers our students,” said Ganyard.
The dream of a new library is about to become a reality. With a brand new space with cutting-edge technology, the new library will be a place where students can collaborate, innovate, and achieve their full potential.
Chancellor Alexander had mentioned that they will start breaking ground in 2024 and are anticipating it will be a two-year process if all goes as planned. As far as location, “It will be in between the Weidner Center and Rose Hall on top of what is now the circle drive off of Main Campus Drive.” said Alexander.
This also means that the library will no longer be attached to the campus buildings as well as the ever-popular concourse tunnels. Susan Grant-Robinson, Chancellor’s Chief of Staff, stated, “We expect the tunnels to remain open for much of the construction period, but the new building, like the Weidner Center and the STEM Innovation Center, will not be connected to the existing tunnel system.” Chancellor Alexander claims this is for a good reason, as it will have its own entrance that is accessible.
Construction on the new library is set to begin in the coming years, with completion expected in 2026. In the meantime, students and faculty can look forward to a bright future filled with opportunity and innovation. “A new space brings new ideas, so you never know where it might take you,” said Ganyard.