Discussions of library renovations give deja vu

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DePauw University’s Roy O. West Library was last renovated on the inside in 1986, according to a 2007 article from The DePauw. In fact, in almost 30 years, the only renovations made have been external, and in 2001 they made Roy O. match Harrison Hall and Asbury Hall.

But this year isn’t the first year discussion of renovations have been on the table. In fact, this same 2007 article in The DePauw reported on a task force made plans to renovate the library. They wanted to make improvements in lighting and group study spaces. There were also plans to move the Academic Resource Center from it’s former home in Harrison to the basement of the library. They even had preliminary sketches of what the renovations could look like.

Then, former university president Robert Bottoms left and president Brian Casey came in and library renovations were put on the back burner. Now, as Casey is preparing to leave DePauw for Colgate College, conversations about renovating the library have begun again.

There's two main differences between the discussions  that happened eight years ago and the ones currently going on.  Bottoms never secured  funding for the library renovations, but Casey has, at least minimally. Casey also came in during an economic recession.

After getting through the recession, the library was no longer a priority. Instead, a newly renovated athletic campus and Hoover Hall became the priority, while the library continued to deteriorate.  

As an Editorial Board, we hope that there is some follow through with the renovation of the library. The library is a symbol for the academics of a university, and ultimately, the library should be the crown jewel of a university, not athletics or a dining hall.

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