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MSUM celebrates completion of new library

MOORHEAD - On Thursday, Minnesota State University Moorhead celebrated the completion of its new library, a project that began more than a decade ago with a pre-design and a cost of more than $19 million in state funds.

Minnesota State University Moorhead Library
Students, staff and visitors gather Thursday for the grand opening of Minnesota State University Moorhead's new library. The project cost $19 million and construction began in January 2012. Grace Lyden/Forum News Service

MOORHEAD - On Thursday, Minnesota State University Moorhead celebrated the completion of its new library, a project that began more than a decade ago with a pre-design and a cost of more than $19 million in state funds.
The renovation, which began in January 2012, was much needed, said Brittney Goodman, executive director of library services.
“We had moisture issues, we had temperature issues, ergonomic issues, the technology infrastructure … Our issues just stacked up to the point that when we went to ask the state for money, they said absolutely,” Goodman said.
New additions include a central grand staircase, terrazzo flooring on the first floor, new service desks and primarily all new furniture, as well as heating, cooling, wiring and electrical work.
The building also now complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Some of the additions that appeal to students include the modern furniture, an abundance of outlets and study rooms that include monitors for practicing presentations.
President Anne Blackhurst, who spoke at the grand opening Thursday, said “not a day goes by” when she does not walk through the library and see it packed with students.
“When it’s a really busy time, like finals, I think every single study space was filled in the library,” said MSUM librarian Travis Dolence. Much of the renovation was completed prior to spring finals last year.
Goodman estimates that student use has doubled.
Several ideas came directly from students, who were consulted through focus groups as early as 2003.
For example, it was the students’ idea to include monitors in 22 study rooms, which Goodman thinks of as “collaboration rooms.”
“We heard from students that there wasn’t a place on campus where you could practice doing a presentation,” Goodman said.
Another student suggestion led to the 24-hour lounge, which was completed just in time for Thursday’s grand opening.
When asked if they liked the new library’s furniture, junior Hannah Halbakken and senior Heidi Nelson laughed.
“I love it,” Halbakken said.
“It’s so cool,” Nelson added.
The library stayed open throughout construction, but students typically avoided it because “it was dusty and gross for a while,” Halbakken said.
Nelson, as an elementary education major, particularly appreciates the additions to the curriculum center, which now includes games, puppets, movies and more books than before.
“The second floor is a gold mine,” she said. “It was worth waiting for.”

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