The John C. Hitt library’s new fifth floor study area has opened as the first phase of renovations are nearing completion. The Automatic Retrieval Center (ARC) — the new brick building built next to the main library — is planned to be completed in June and operational later this summer, according to Heather Smith, Assistant Director of Media Relations at UCF.
Opening this summer are the first three stories of the ARC which will include a large open space with rows of robotic storage for 750,000 volumes of books and capable of handling another 500,000 in the future, Smith said.
This robotic storage will make finding and retrieving books faster and more efficient. When a student orders a book from the library online, a robotic machine will be activated that will deliver the bin where the book is stored to a station, Smith explained. Staff will then retrieve the book from the bin and deliver it to the student at a designated pickup location in the library within 10 to 15 minutes.
The library expansion is set to be completed in three phases. The first phase included the additional study area in the fifth floor, the opening of the first three stories of the ARC, including the robotic storage, and upgrades to the elevators and other features in the main library, Smith said.
The second phase will include the construction of a new four-story structure with glass walls and a gold roof, connecting the main library with the ARC, Smith said. The fourth-floor quiet study in the ARC, additional study space in the connector building and a new second-story entrance to the north side of the library will be completed in this phase, Smith said. The projected date for completion of the second phase is December 2019, according to Smith.
The fourth floor of the ARC will be completed in the next phase and is planned to have an open space for quiet study called the “reading room,” Smith said.
The last phase is a floor by floor interior renovation of the entire library where 80 percent of the books in the main library area will be moved to the ARC, freeing up space for more study and special collection areas, Smith said.
Some students are happy that renovations and changes are being done to the library.
“I think it’s great. It’s about time that the university invested in more space for us,” Aashish Madamanehi, a 20-year-old computer science major said.
Yoldine Louis, a 22-year-old elementary education major, liked the new changes done to the library’s fifth floor.
“I think it looks really modern and very convenient that there are outlets everywhere. And the seating is very comfortable,” said Louis.
However, Louis may not be spending a lot of time in the fifth floor because she prefers to study in more noisy areas.
“I’m not a quiet study person, I’m a third-floor study person, but I can see people who are quiet study people using it,” Louis said.
With the fifth floor now open, there is now more study space in the library where different types of people can find a study area that suits their needs.
Correction: The article has been changed to reflect that the ARC will open later this summer instead of June. While the building will be finished in construction in June, it will not be open yet at that time. Also, the fourth floor of the ARC building has been changed to reflect it will be a quiet study space, rather than a multi-purpose space. The fourth floor of the connecting structure will be a multi-purpose area.