Library experiences delayed renovation plans due to inflation



A new west side exterior rendering of the JFK Memorial Library from the master plan.

Will Baker, Multimedia Editor

The Cal State LA campus library began transforming its building to include more space for students to enjoy over the summer, but inflation and supply chain issues have led to it being delayed further than planned.

“We had ordered display cases six months ago for this area here hoping they would be here by now so we could have an exhibit here in the fall,” said Dean of the Cal State LA John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, Carlos Rodriguez.

With the rising costs of transporting goods and getting materials to different construction projects across the world, the library is no different.

 During the summer, on the Library Instagram account, followers caught a glimpse of the progress being made with the current phase of the renovation.

 “Most of these plans we are doing all build on the master plan,” Rodriguez said.

 The master plan that Rodriguez is referring to, is a 106-page document outlining the intricate details of the renovation. It took nearly eight months to compile, and has plans for new technology and media spaces including recording media suites, a new facade, and other improvements that students could benefit from.

 The task is not easy given that the library is the second largest building on campus, with over 300,000 square feet.

 After observing and looking through all the research, they will be focusing on three aspects of the plan, one of them being student spaces, according to Rodriguez.

“If we did the whole building all at once, it would be unavailable for one to two years, which is something we cannot do, that’s why we are doing it in phases,” Rodriguez said. “We started on the project in the fall of 2019, with the hope of opening in the spring of 2020.”

The COVID pandemic stalled the plan, and the renovated space sat unused until students returned to campus.

 It is estimated that the renovation will cost around $100 million and no extra funds are currently supporting the project, just the available resources through the campus funds, according to Rodriguez.

The library is still looking to find alumni who are engaging in supporting this massive and impactful project, which could help speed things along.

 In an informal poll posted on the University Times Instagram, students were asked if they used the library; 75% of the respondents said yes. Few of those respondents went on to say how they use it. Yazmin Bravo Carpinteyro, a third-year animation major, takes advantage of the study rooms and the air conditioning.

Other students simply note that the library is one of the only places on campus with ample space to study. Maria Refugio, a third-year biology major, said, “the library is a great quiet place to study as there are many limited spaces in buildings.”

The library doesn’t just have space to study, it is also home to many different offerings, including food options, research libraries for graduate students, and information technology services.

 Yet students needn’t worry about the renovations having too much of an impact on their favorite study place. Rodriguez said that all loud or disturbing work that may need to be done will still be scheduled so as not to impact the space for students.

 In honor of Cal State La’s 75th anniversary, a display is being curated showcasing some of the many different accomplishments students have received. 

“We won several awards internationally and nationally from our engineering students designing this solar-powered vehicle, nearly thirty years ago,” Rodriguez said.   

Students may start to notice the new display areas as well as new signage. The signage is to help aid students in getting around the massive building and is a noticeable improvement.

Rodriguez hopes the current phase will be completed in the spring of 2023 but will wait to see what further delays the supply chain could offer to disrupt that goal.