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Salisbury U. opens new $117M library

Salisbury University celebrated the opening of a new library building Thursday, a $117 million facility that replaces its aging and woefully inadequate facility, officials said.

The 221,000-square foot Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons, named in memory of a Salisbury alumna,  is the largest academic construction project since the campus was founded in 1925. The Guerrieri Family Foundation donated $8 million toward the project.

Construction workers put the finishing touches on the 221,000-square-foot Guerrieri Academic Commons, the largest academic building in Salisbury University’s history. (Photo from Salisbury University).

Construction workers put the finishing touches on the 221,000-square-foot Guerrieri Academic Commons, the largest academic building in Salisbury University’s history. (Photo from Salisbury University).

The new building is intended not only as a resource for the university’s faculty and staff, but for the 210,000 residents of the four lower-shore counties, Salisbury President Janet Dudley-Eshbach said in a statement.

The previous library offered less than one-third of the seating recommended for a school of Salisbury’s size and couldn’t expand its collections because there was no room for additional materials, according to the university.

Salisbury had an enrollment of 8,671 for the fall 2015 semester.

The new building, dubbed the “GAC” for short, is nearly four times larger than its predecessor and, at four stories high, is twice as tall. In addition to traditional book stacks and reading areas, amenities include about 600 computers and 85 large, flat-panel monitors, a 400-seat assembly hall, climate controlled storage for artifacts and archival materials, a two-story cafe, a classroom, and extensive Wi-Fi coverage, according to the university.

Rise Up Coffee Roasters, a local chain founded in 2005 by two Salisbury alumni, will have a coffee stand adjoining a 24-hour study space.

The atrium of Salisbury University's new academic commons building is illuminated by skylights and a glass wall. (Photo from Salisbury University).

The atrium of Salisbury University’s new academic commons building is illuminated by skylights and a glass wall. (Photo from Salisbury University).

The GAC also has a feature most people will rarely see: a 20,000 square-foot “green” roof that uses sedum and other plants to absorb and filter rainwater, reducing storm runoff, and keeping the building cool, according to the university.

In a statement, Dudley-Eshbach credited the new facility, located at the center of campus, to the generosity and support the Guerrieri family has shown for decades. The family has endowed scholarships, and its name appears on the campus’s University Center and laboratory space.

 

 

 

 


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