December 2021

Phase One Milestone

We’ve reached another important milestone in our progress on the first phase of the building project: on November 29, 2021, we submitted a proposal to consider the building project on the January 20, 2022 Board of Trustees agenda. A number of key elements have come together to make this possible. As many of you know, we have a preliminary schematic design, which has made possible a firmer estimate of costs, and we have the necessary funding commitments to be able to proceed. More on that in just a moment.

First, however, I want to thank everyone involved with the Town Hall on November 18, and especially Tom Teper, David Ward, and Sara Holder for their presentations, and the assist from Heather Murphy. The outstanding presentation by Kevin Huse and Luke Voiland (RATIO and Shepley-Bulfinch) was important for our commitment to engage the campus in a review of the preliminary design. Their design allows us to achieve our goals in the new building and is aesthetically inspiring. David and Sara did an exceptional job in providing details on our strategy to accommodate student services in our other libraries. David, Sara, Tom, and Heather did a wonderful job responding to questions with knowledge and details, and all of them engaged with grace and respect for the sentiments expressed by attendees. I have been inspired by the teamwork and commitment everyone has shown throughout the process, and this event was yet another superb example of the high level of professionalism our folks have brought to the process. There was excellent information sharing, a great deal of engagement, and some very productive dialogue. If you weren’t able to attend, the entire recording is online at

As noted, we’re finalizing a Phase One funding plan for the Board of Trustees meeting on January 20. Between campus support, fundraising, and internal allocations, we have raised most of the funds for the projected total cost of $50.1M. Kudos to Tom and Tim for managing costs through the design process, and a special shoutout to Kathryn Risor-Heise and her team for the fundraising work.  The campus supports our funding plan and has agreed to cover any shortfall through long-term debt management, similar to the strategy we used to fund the construction of Oak Street. Susan Breakenridge will be working with the Provost’s office on formalizing these commitments with Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), and we’ll discuss the details of funding as soon as those are completed and we have final numbers. My deeply felt thanks and appreciation to all of you for helping us get to this point.

Of course there’s still a lot of work to do, but we are well-positioned to bring the project before the Board of Trustees and secure an important approval to move forward. Fingers crossed, and I hope to see you all at our last Hangout of the year on December 8. 

John Wilkin
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian