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Porter Main Floor Renovation Team

Update of September 23

We had some great news yesterday: we passed a life safety inspection by the city and library staff working on the renovation now have permission to access the main floor. This is allowing us to complete the work of setting up shelving in time for it to be painted.  Staff not involved in the renovation are asked to stay off the floor – there is still a lot of work going on and many different crews are working around each other.  Furniture is being installed all this week and into next week, and computers might start to move into place this week.  We anticipate that staff will start moving back on the floor sometime early next week.

The other good news is that the staff party is still on for Friday.  Please join us at 10:00 am on the main floor for snacks, speeches, and the chance to explore the floor.

In the meantime, if you would like to test your main floor knowledge (you’ve been checking the renovation photos, right?), try figuring out where on the main floor this picture was taken: 

Update – September 5, 2008

Progress on the floor is developing quickly now.  Carpet is being laid in the ISR and Circulation staff areas, the glass wall between the reference collection and the café seating is in, and the accent painting is mostly complete.  The millwork has all been built offsite and is waiting for the appropriate flooring before being installed – the circulation desk is being installed today.  There is one significant piece that is taking longer than hoped, and that is the laying of tile.  Until the tiling is complete the floor is still considered a construction site, which means that UW staff, with the exception of IST staff, cannot be on the floor setting things up in the areas that are already complete.  The biggest impact of this policy is the rebuilding of the reference collection; options for how to put this collection back in the most timely manner are still being explored.

Our best projection at this stage is as follows:

Week of September 15

Week of September 22

Week of September 29

Everyone is working hard to have the floor open to the public in early October.  This is a realistic goal, though we cannot be certain of the date until the work has received approval from the building inspector.  I will keep you posted.

Update - August 20, 2008

It’s been a while since my last update that indicated we were more or less back on schedule.  As everyone knows by now, unfortunately we will not be able to regain access to the floor this month after all.  Information is still uncertain at present, but a hopeful target has us starting to move things back onto the floor around September 15 and opening to the public as soon as possible after that.  The Walter Fedy group is firming up remaining trades and sub-contractors over the next few days so that they can provide a more definite completion schedule within a week.

We are hopeful that the impact of this delay will not be too large.  Orientation activities normally taking place at Porter have been rescheduled to occur at Davis.  Otherwise we will continue with our temporary entrance and other arrangements until we can move onto the main floor.

Some updates are:

More details on the use of the new systems features noted above will be provided as we get closer to opening the floor to the public.  Please let me know if there are any questions.

Update - June 24, 2008

One of the big questions in everyone’s mind is whether the Porter renovation is on time.  I believe the unofficial pool has most money on an October completion date.  Although no one can yet say for certain when we will be able to re-occupy the floor, construction crews have been working through the weekends to do their best to catch up and they are making excellent progress.  The Walter Fedy Partnership is still working towards a completion date of August 15.  I’m putting my money on August 28.

A little while ago the architects provided this rendering of the centre part of the floor.  After some discussion on the colours and a look at some alternate paint colours, the Team has endorsed this vision of the floor.  In the words of one of the architects, the library will be “making a statement.”  The red paint will appear in two other areas of the floor as well: on the bulkhead above the circulation desk; on the wall behind Browsers.

I am happy to inform you that work is underway with a signage and wayfinding consultant firm to develop a signage program for the entire building.  At this stage we expect to only be purchasing signs for the main floor, but the program will be in place so that as money becomes available we will be able to add signage to other floors that is tied into the program.

Update - January 28, 2008

The “schematic design” phase of the project is complete, subject to a review of the next cost estimate.  This link shows the plan  Furniture in the public and staff areas is subject to some tweaking, and both the Information and the Circulation desks have yet to be designed.   

Points of significance included in the plan are:

Furniture types throughout the public areas are based on feedback obtained in our recent student design activity (charrette) as well as our earlier comment card surveys.

We are paying attention to noise concerns as we move forward; we are working to ensure that each area of the floor has an appropriate level of noise control. 

Browsers has committed to reducing line-ups by adding another staff member at peak periods, which they have already done to some extent.  They are also tweaking their area to improve patron flow.

The next phase is the “design development” phase, where we start looking in detail at furniture arrangements, colours, flooring types, window covering, and so on.  We will be doing more mock-ups of staff furniture arrangements once a space has been identified for this.

Also, a meeting was held on January 22 to begin the process of finding alternate locations for staff and services during the renovation phase.  More detailed information on this aspect will be provided in the coming months, as we move towards the April 25 target of having the floor totally cleared.

Check out our public website at which will go live very soon!

Update - November 27, 2007

Please note that this is an internal Library communication.  Regular communications to the public are in the planning stages....

A lot has happened since our last update.  The Team met with Roger Farwell, our Architect, and Martina Vinod, our Project Manager, of The Walter Fedy Group.  Some deadlines were quickly established:

The main floor of Porter will be entirely closed to the public and to staff, from about April 28th until the end of construction, which is scheduled for August 15th.  Everything will be moving off the floor for the duration.

Library Managers will be working with their departments to determine how we can keep the remainder of the building open to the public; which services, if any, do not need to be offered during the summer; where to locate other services and collections; and where to locate those of us who work on the floor.

The key point is that we will do whatever we need to do in order to conclude the renovation in time for the fall term.  For that reason, Library Managers will also be looking at which services, staff, and collections can start moving off the floor in advance of the actual closure of the floor.

Update - November 5, 2007

It has been a long time since the last update on the activity of the Porter Main Floor Renovation Team, but we have been using the time well to investigate other library renovation projects and to obtain more feedback from our users, and this work has helped to clarify our vision for the different parts of the floor.  In addition to visits mentioned in earlier updates, we have:

Also, Team members often report on libraries that they have visited in their travels, and we continue to explore the work of other libraries through their websites as well as to monitor listservs.

The Team has conducted two informal comment card surveys over the past few months, and in the winter term of 2007 the Team worked with the Systems Design Engineering 348 class, where ideas for the floor were explored during their “mini-case” exercise.  The Team has also spent a meeting discussing issues with students who are registered with the Office for Persons with Disabilities.  These investigations, along with the results of the 2007 LibQUAL survey and the 2006 User Satisfaction survey, and with earlier feedback obtained during the long-range planning exercise, give us confidence that we are on the right track in meeting the needs of our users within the context of the Library’s mandate and the available space.

In addition to this work, the Team has prepared an Interim Report to articulate the guiding principles under which we are moving forward, as well as to highlight some other issues.  The Interim Report is available from the Team’s website, at:

In addition to the staff website, the Team is building both a public website and a facebook site, as ways to both inform and to listen to our users.  These sites will be unveiled as we get further along. An open house is also being planned to showcase the details.

September 23, 2008