Library fountain faces demolition

The lifting of drought water restrictions has allowed water to freely flow out of the Campanile fountain, but the library fountain will see a different outcome. Having been off all semester, the construction of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Center (CULC) is forcing its demolition.

“The library fountain will be going away as a part of the redevelopment of the Skiles walkway … and the stairs that are currently there and the bridge that bridges across from Skiles to Price Gilbert, they will all be redeveloped to make it more pedestrian and student friendly,” said Howard Wertheimer, director of Capital Planning and Space Management.

The fountains in front of the library were generally used by students to relax and decompress while taking a break from academics. The fountains feature a three-tiered design, and were a gift from the Price Gilbert, Jr. Charitable Trust and the Gilbert family. The restarting of the Campanile fountains raised speculation about when the library fountains would restart as well.

After the fountains are torn down, a series of terraced stairs will be built to replace the library fountain. “The metaphor is the Spanish steps in Rome as it becomes a gathering place. It will be integral with landscape as well,” Wertheimer said.

The library rotunda will be kept unchanged in its place and a renovation is planned for the library tower. The redesign of Skiles Walkway does not permit the existence of the fountains as they are. As of yet, the structures do not pose a structural problem to the CULC.

State budgets cuts have not yet changed the projected timetable for the construction of the CULC. The state legislature is currently shifting the sale of bonds and, unless the bonds go unsold, the expectation is that construction will remain unaffected. Tech planners are also anticipating private donations and funding to offset any lost funds.

Current estimates project that the building opening is still years away. “It will be about two years from now so hopefully summer 2011 if all goes well, so that for Fall 2011 the building will be in operation,” Wertheimer said.

The exact demolition date for the library fountain has not been decided, since the exact timetable is still unavailable. However, despite the lack of deadline, the library water fountains will not be turned on again.

“When water restrictions were lifted we wanted to make sure that we turned on the fountains in a responsible, strategic way and minimize water use,” said Sejal Patel, assistant director of Capital and Space Planning.

Patel noted that while students would not be able to spend time in the fountains, the CULC would provide plenty of new opportunities for recreation. In addition to the creation of a Starbucks on the second “oor, the building will also house an open air garden accessible to students on the terrace.

All the labs for courses taught in the lecture halls will be located in the CULC as well. Tutoring and student support for the classes will be consolidated into the CULC as will be the Center for Enhancement for Teaching and Learning (CETL) and various student support success programs.

“[The CULC] is a program that was developed about ten years ago by a cross section of leadership at Georgia Tech and it will become the academic home of undergraduates and it will be a place for every freshman and sophomore student who comes to Georgia Tech will take class because all the introductory science classes… [All these resources] will all be co-located in this facility,” Wertheimer said.

Additional features to be included in the building are a café adjacent to the south entrance opening up to Skiles Walkway and Student Center Commons and work areas similar to the Library East Commons.

“It will be a one stop shop for students so they will be more successful,” Wertheimer said. “[The CULC] will connect to [the library], from the Library West Commons. There will be a portal that will provide entry to and from the CULC and Price Gilbert. Somewhere down the line when state funding becomes available we will renovate Price Gilbert across the tower and revisit the security control points to the tower complex.”