Public Works Board approves new library for University of Nevada, Reno

The Public Works Board approved designs for the new main library at the University of Nevada, Reno on Thursday.

The "Learning Center" project will cost more than $86 million - one of the most expensive public works projects in Nevada history.

Public Works Board Project Manager Ron Crook said the library will total 295,000 square feet in a five-story structure located north of the National Judicial College and east of the existing parking garage. When completed, it will fill in not only part of the parking area below Lawlor Events Center but most of the parking lot between Fleischmann Research Center and the National Judicial College.

Crook said plans are to put the project out to bid in September or October with construction to begin by the first of the year in 2006. It will take until spring 2008 to complete the project.

He said the library will be a brick-faced building with limestone accents similar in style to other recent projects on the Reno campus.

It will feature domed roof structures on corner structures and on the rotunda at the northwest corner of the building. The front entrance is framed by a series of archways and the interior surrounds an atrium which extends upward from the ground floor to the roof.

The library will feature an automated storage and retrieval system for many materials and less frequently used books.

Public Works Board member Rennie Ashleman said his only concern was that every effort be made to ensure the building is well constructed.

"The last time we tried at Lied Library it didn't work too well," he said referring to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas library project which is now tied up in legal negotiations over a long list of construction problems the state blames on the builders.

Public Works Manager Dan O'Brien assured Ashleman every effort is being made to make sure the building is well made and meets design expectations.

He said there is $1 million in the budget for a management team to be on the site throughout construction. And Crook said he expects to spent up to a third of his time on the library project as well.

The library project was originally designed as a $66 million building. The University of Nevada, Reno agreed to contribute $22 million of that total and has raised almost all that money. But prices have since been driven upward by the rising cost of steel and other construction materials. UNR is now working on an additional $8.8 million needed to cover the increase in costs.

Crook said the governor's Capital Improvements Program budget asks for an additional $16.2 million in state funds to make up the rest of the cost.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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