Marston Science Library is getting a makeover spanning three floors, one of which opened last week.
After more than two months of construction, Marston’s third floor opened Sept. 12, said Patrick Reakes, a senior associate dean of UF Libraries. The fourth and fifth floors of the library remain closed due to continued renovation, Reakes said. They could reopen in almost two months.
“You’ve got to have a little short-term pain for long-term gain,” Reakes said.
Health science sophomore Jeel Patel started going to Marston Science Library every day last year, but floor closures have made her miss her routine. Since then, she preferred studying either at home or Library West.
“It’s a place where it has many memories and a place where I feel nostalgic,” the 19-year-old said. “I'm not able to catch up with friends or see other people like I used to be able to do and get that socialization.”
Patel mostly studied on the third floor, she said, which she is excited to return to.
Currently, there are more than 900 seats available in the first and second floors and the library is running at around 90% capacity, Reakes said. With the third floor reopened, another 320 seats are available.
The third floor was closed so contractors could install electrical outlets on the fourth floor’s ground, Reakes said.
Contractors have drilled holes in the fourth and fifth floors to put in new electrical lines and install power outlets, Valrie Minson, Marston Science Library chair, wrote in an email.
The renovation on the fourth and fifth floors is mostly adding new furniture and getting power hooked to the furniture, Reakes said. The furniture will provide more opportunities for individual studying, Minson said.
They have also removed part of the wall on the new first-floor Makery, an area equipped with 3D printers, sewing machines and other equipment. The goal is to eventually install a new entrance, Minson said.
Marston staff is hoping for a mid- to late-October reopening for the fourth floor and the first floor Makery, and an early November reopening for the fifth floor.
The Makery doors are currently scheduled to be the last item to arrive in mid-November, but the delay shouldn’t impact access to any of the floors or spaces, Minson said.
The only delay so far was in getting the renovation permit, which happened during the second week of August, Minson said. The permit allowed the Marston staff to add more electrical infrastructure to the building.
Shreya Gadikota, a 19-year-old UF health science sophomore, said she prefers Marston over the other libraries because it allows for group and collaborative studying, allowing for more interaction with her friends.
“I'm the kind of person who doesn't really like the quietness,” Gadikota said. “I like the white noise of people behind me and being able to speak loudly.”
Although students have several alternative libraries to go to at UF, Reakes said he understands the frustration of not being able to study in their preferred spots. However, the five other libraries on campus are open for students to study in as an alternative, Reakes added.
Many UF students live with roommates or other spaces where studying isn’t possible, Minson wrote. The library staff at Marston wanted to create more opportunities for independent studying, Minson said.
"We had hoped to have the work done prior to the start of the Fall semester,” Minson said. “That wasn't possible, but the renovations are going to create spaces that are even better.”
The projected cost of the project is $1.6 million, and they’ve stayed on course so far, Reakes said.
Although they haven’t set a date for it yet, Marston plans on hosting a grand opening eventually to celebrate the renovation of the fourth and fifth floors with students.
Both Patel and Gadikota said they plan on going to Marston more often once the renovations are finished.
“I miss that welcoming space,” Gadikota said. “Right now, it's like a break of the habit. I'm looking forward to getting back into it.”
Anushka Dakshit is a fourth-year journalism and women’s studies major and the general reporter on the University desk of The Alligator. She started out as an arts and culture reporter at The Avenue and hopes to pursue arts and culture reporting and print magazine journalism in her career. Along with The Alligator, she is one of the Print Editorial Directors of Rowdy Magazine. In her free time, she likes to listen to old Bollywood music, read and obsess over other writers’ processes whenever she has no idea what she’s doing (which is often).