September 23, 2008

Project will close library’s south sidewalks

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- As construction on the massive $56.5 million renovation and expansion project at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library continues, temporary changes are inevitable. Beginning Monday, Sept. 29, sidewalk replacement work on the south side will force closure of the walks on that side of the library. Crews have already replaced the southeast sidewalks and the closure will allow replacement of the center and southwest sidewalks on the south side of the library.

The closure will last at most a week, according to David Carlson, dean of Library Affairs. While the south sidewalks are closed, the new sidewalks on the north side of the library will open for use. Carlson noted that crews will move construction fencing to the northeast, giving library visitors a wider angle of entry to the library so they can use the steps or ramp when coming from Lawson Hall and nearby buildings.

However, Carlson said when the south sidewalks reopen, the north walks will close again temporarily due to ongoing construction. It’s uncertain as yet, how long it will be until those walks can reopen permanently, although it will certainly be by Thanksgiving, Carlson said.

Various services and components will move back into the library beginning in mid- or late October as the project continues to progress. River City Construction of Peoria-Benton is the general contractor for the project that’s adding 50,000 square feet and revitalizing other portions of the library. The target date for the reopening of Morris Library up through the fifth floor is Jan. 1, 2009.