A group of students entered the completely overhauled Wentworth library in September—now called the Douglas D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons—and looked around with a sense of awe.
The expansive space before them bears virtually no resemblance to the one they last visited in April, before the library was packed up for the summer in preparation for its first major renovation since opening in 1967.
“It was amazing to see the students come in,” says Kevin Kidd, director of the library. “The students who had been here last year in the old library came back four months later and bam—it’s totally different.”
From floor to ceiling, the entire space was gutted and rebuilt. Windows throughout Beatty Hall were replaced, and air-handling units were upgraded throughout the building.
The result of the $15 million renovation is a modern, inviting space with new areas for both collaboration and quiet study. Large bookshelves have given way to high-density, compact storage. High-tech collaboration rooms feature 70-inch monitors. And a technology sandbox—funded by a grant from the George I. Alden Trust—offers space for experimentation with high-tech toys including 3D printers and scanners.
“It is almost like having a new building,” Kidd says.
Kidd envisions the new library as a revitalized hub of Wentworth’s academic community. A gallery showcases student work, and faculty members will have opportunities to present lectures and conduct seminars in the new space.
“We want to show the world the work that our students and faculty do,” Kidd says. “There’s so much great stuff that goes on here.”
The Campaign for the Douglas D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons, seeded by a $5 million gift from Doug Schumann, AM ’64, Hon. ’08—who also contributed the lead gift to the Douglas D. Schumann Fitness Center—exceeded its $7.5 million goal by 8.4 percent, raising $8,133,172 from 242 donors.
“The Douglas D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons is now a learning hub that strengthens our community—both on and beyond campus,” says President Zorica Panti?. “The space symbolizes our strong tradition of experiential learning and collaboration.”
Designed by Perkins+Will and built by Consigli Construction, the new library opened on September 6. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on September 30.
“The space is more open and inviting, and we’re encouraging people to come in here,” Kidd says. “It’s changing the way people interact, and encouraging the community of learning.”