September 14, 1998 Vol. III, No. 1

Oviatt Wings Rebuilding Begins Parade of New Facilities

Project is First of Five Planned New Buildings Slated for Quake Recovery

Launching the final phase of the university's earthquake recovery, Cal State Northridge President Blenda J. Wilson and other officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $16.7 million construction project to rebuild the wings of CSUN's trademark Oviatt Library.

The new library wings project, replacing the pair that had to be demolished after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, is the first of five planned major, new campus buildings stemming from the earthquake to begin construction. The new facilities, the last phase of recovery, will help reshape the campus when all are complete in about two years.

"Today marks a milestone in the restoration of our library after the devastation of the earthquake," said Dean of the University Library Susan Curzon, who led the Wednesday, Sept. 9 ceremony.

During the event, state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley), whose district includes Northridge, presented the university with a certificate marking the occasion. And Wilson noted with humor, "The library has coined a new phraseŠ. It is 'We've earned our wings.' "

With the start of new building construction, CSUN begins heading into the final phase of its now-estimated $379 million earthquake recovery. The last of the major work is due for completion during the year 2000, with the campus expected to emerge as one of the most modern major universities in the country.

CSUN has already begun gradually removing the many temporary classrooms that were trucked in after the earthquake to replace damaged buildings, the first major phase of the recovery. And repairs on the major campus buildings that survived the earthquake, the second significant phase of recovery, also are heading toward completion.

New York-based Morse Diesel International Inc., a leading construction firm with a track record of major projects, was awarded the $16.7 million contract to rebuild the library's east and west wings to virtually their original appearance. The contract, due for completion by fall 1999, is the largest single one awarded thus far by the university for quake recovery construction.

Under the contract, Morse Diesel will build a new west wing, with four stories and a basement, totaling about 60,000 gross square feet, along with a new three-story east wing totaling about 40,000 gross square feet. The east wing, as before, will sit atop the mostly below-surface automated book storage and retrieval system.

When the new wings are completed, the combined library should be restored to its prior seating capacity of about 3,200 and have an inventory totaling 1.1 million volumes and more than 3 million microforms.

Curzon stressed that the core of the university's library will remain open with normal hours during the construction of the new wings. Plans also call for disability and fire/life safety upgrades to the library's core, along with plans to repaint and re-carpet the core to match the new construction.

Other than the wings, the four other recovery-related new construction projects now pending are two new College of Arts, Media and Communication buildings, a combined College of Health and Human Development/ Technology Center building, and an Administration Building.

-John Chandler

September 14, 1998

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