A $9-million project to remake Grove City College’s 70-year-old Henry Buhl Library into a standard-setting space for study, research, learning, and collaboration is moving toward completion this summer.
“We are on schedule for the final phase, and all will be done by the time the students return in August,” said Susan Grimm, vice president for Operations at the College. The project is the biggest campus capital investment since the completion of STEM Hall in 2013 at a cost of $40 million.
The project is a top-to-bottom makeover the library, which had undergone minimal updates since its construction in 1954. New features include an expansive Learning Commons featuring a series of individual and group study rooms, new reading and reference space on the ground floor, a dramatic bleacher staircase, a tech-friendly lobby, new space for offices and the Academic Resource Center, a café, and patio. In addition to the myriad aesthetic changes, the building was rewired to accommodate today’s technology and had its mechanical systems updated.
Work began in May 2021 and progressed in stages to accommodate student access to the library throughout the construction. In the initial phase, the ground floor Rare Book room was transformed into a warm reading and reference room and office space and new electrical, HVAC, and other systems were installed.
The second phase of work saw the construction of the staircase and near-completion of the first floor Learning Commons, which opened to students this spring, months ahead of schedule.
The final stage includes renovating the lobby area, construction of a new conference room that doubles as a classroom, the patio, and a café to be run by Urban Trail Coffee Co.
Grimm credited designer Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel Architects, Pittsburgh, and contractor Landau Building Company, Allison Park, Pa., for their work on the project.
“Landau and PWWG worked together to keep the project on or ahead of schedule while still having the library available to the students,” she said. “Landau did an outstanding job of keeping the job moving, interfacing with Grove City College, and troubleshooting issues that come along when working in an old building.”
Like all projects at Grove City College, which does not accept federal funding, the Buhl Library renovation is funded by generous private donations from supporters of the College. The largest single gift -- $2.5 million – came from the Pew Charitable Trust.
The library is expected to be fully open to students when classes begin on August 22. A re-dedication ceremony is set for Sept. 15.