Completing a multi-year, phased renovation is as much a time for relief as it is a time for celebration. That is certainly true for the 5th floor of O’Neill Library, which started its renovation before the pandemic in 2019 and finishes in early Fall of 2021. The construction is now complete, and the floor and its collections are available to visitors. All that remains is for new furniture to be delivered; delays in shipping mean that is likely to be completed in October.
The first phase of the project began by tearing down an unused server room and turning it into a 3,000 square foot study space with temporary furniture. Staff made decisions on the final design and furnishings based on usage of the temporary space.
Following that, library staff relocated and shifted the 5th floor collection so that several ranges of shelving could be removed. The result is a larger study space overlooking the Boston skyline.
The final phase included the construction of 7 new group study rooms and refurbishment of the existing study rooms.
More walls came down to open up the new study space, visually connect it to the atrium, and physically connect it to the expanded Boston-facing study area. People are now able to walk around all four sides of the atrium. The addition of some study booths complete this newly accessible area.
Finally, the bathrooms on the 5th floor were redone. And less visible, but no less critical, was a major HVAC upgrade.