Laughter, cheers and clapping filled the air on Jan. 12 at the new College of Business and Library Hall as it was unveiled with a ribbon cutting.
Students, faculty and staff gathered together to celebrate the occasion, including several elected officials such as District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran, District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia and Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, Precinct 1.
The new College of Business and Library Hall is located south of Classroom Hall and is expected to house faculty and offices that currently reside in the modular buildings west of Classroom Hall as well as the library, which is located on the second floor of the Central Academic Building.
Though the building was unveiled Jan 12., faculty and staff have yet to be allowed to move into the building.
“They’re still working through what’s called a punch list,” said Tim Gritten, executive director of the library at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. “It’s kind of like they have the rough draft of the building, and now they’re doing the final draft of the building.”
“They’ve had a whole bunch of revisions and edits that they need to make and go back in and fix, so we’re just waiting for all of that to be done,” Gritten added.
Gritten said the building was originally planned to be open last year, but due to supply chain issues and other external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, plans have been pushed back.
“It’s a chance to celebrate what’s coming and what people are going to be able to do and be able to see, even if it’s not quite ready yet,” Gritten said. “Just knowing that this is coming, I think, is salivating to many, many people.”
Size and a lack of study rooms were at the top of the list of issues for the current location.
“It’s frustrating for us as librarians and library staff because we really want to have a space that meets your needs,” Gritten said. “That’s what’s been more frustrating than anything else. It’s like, ‘why can’t we open the Christmas presents yet?’”
Because of a lack of shelf space availability, most of the books in the current library have not been able to be checked out physically.
“Right now, most of our collection is digital, which is fine — you can get them from anywhere — but people like to open books and we don’t have the space to do that. Now, we will,” Gritten said.
Gritten said the new library will be triple the size of the current location, dwarfing the current one. This will allow people to physically check out books that once were only available digitally because of a lack of space.
The $53 million College of Business and Library Hall is expected to be complete in the coming months and will have a gross area of over 100,000 square feet.