Beginning in January, students will be able to utilize Library West and Newell Hall 24/7 for the Spring 2018 semester.
This comes as an upgrade from the Fall 2017 semester, when Student Government implemented a pilot program with Newell Hall as UF’s primary 24/7 study space, with Library West as a 24/5 study space, Student Body President Smith Meyers said.
Until the end of October, students participated in a survey that had them answer questions based on their overnight study needs, Meyers said. Over 5,500 students responded to the survey, and about 55 percent of students preferred Library West, while 12 percent preferred Newell Hall and about 20 to 23 percent were happy with either study space, he said.
“The results from the survey that we received showed that students wanted additional study space on campus,” Meyers said. “On top of that, it’s important to identify that Newell Hall and Library West are different kinds of study spaces that offer different services to students.”
Meyers said Library West offers students a quiet study space while Newell Hall is more of a learning commons.
“While you can study in both, I think they both offer different atmosphere and from the survey results we gathered, I think students wanted both of those kinds of study spaces opened for expanded hours,” he said.
Keeping Library West and Newell Hall open 24/7 for the spring semester will be done without raising student fees, Meyers said. He said this is because the Provost, who already pays to run Library West 24/5, will cover the cost of keeping Library West 24/7, while Student Government continues to pay for the operation of Newell Hall.
According to Student Government’s approved 2017-2018 budget, it costs about $198,140 to run Newell Hall for the fiscal year. He said about 10 cents per credit hour are allocated towards paying for the operation of Newell Hall.
Student Government will continue to pay to keep Library West open 24/7 during reading days and final exams, which costs about $13,000 for both the Fall and Spring semesters, Meyers said.
“Student Government is really excited to see students utilize both buildings with expanded hours and I think that what we’ll continue to do is collect data on student use of the buildings so that it will be able to help us make decisions in the future,” he said.
Meyers said it was supposed to cost about $125,500 to operate Newell Hall 24/7, but the Dean of Students Office, who runs Newell Hall, said they needed more money to operate it.
“I think it’s also important to note that when we lobbied the state legislature to find the renovation of Newell Hall, which they gave us $10 million for, it was always pitched with the idea that it would be a 24/7 learning space, so I thought it was important to honor that argument,” he said.
Susanna van de Graff said she doesn’t think it’s necessary to be funding both study spaces.
The UF civil engineering sophomore said she doesn’t think Library West or Newell Hall are at capacity during these late-night hours to justify the need for both spaces.
“I think it could possibly be a waste of money and energy in terms of electricity consumption,” the 19-year-old said. “I don’t feel we need two 24/7 spaces.”
Contact Christina Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @Christina_M18.