UH student Watcharaporn Chewwattana worked at computer yesterday in Hamilton Library, which has been the site of seemingly unending repairs and renovations.

Hamilton Library renovations
almost complete

By Genevieve A. Suzuki

Four years of construction and renovations at the University of Hawaii's Hamilton Library are coming to an end this month, much to the delight of the people who work there.

"We'll be glad when it's over," said Jean Ehrhorn, the associate university librarian.

University Librarian Diane Perushek will preside over a rededication ceremony at 4 p.m. tomorrow. It will feature a blessing from kumu John Lake and remarks by U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle and UH Regent Walter Nunokawa.

An open house and tours will be offered before the ceremony from 2 to 4 p.m.

"It's basically to bring closure to the year-and-a-half of renovation," said Ehrhorn. "It's been very disruptive in terms of the users."

Construction of the library's new six-story building, called Phase III, began in the summer of 1998 and was finished in February 2001.

Renovations to Hamilton's original sections, called Phase I and Phase II, included asbestos removal, air-conditioning replacement, electrical upgrades for more computers, and additional space for computers and classrooms.

The air conditioning needed to be replaced because it distributed cool air unevenly around the library, making it easier for mold to grow, according to Ehrhorn.

The library also has an expanded William Kwai Fong Yap Memorial Room, named for the state legislator who helped raise the university's status from a college.

The renovations cost about $5.6 million, which came from the $37 million originally allocated for Phase III.

"We were able to get more bang for our buck," Ehrhorn said.

The final part of the renovation project is the roof; that should be finished in about two weeks.

Ehrhorn said books on the fifth floor are still covered with plastic to protect them from the work.

Three departments still must move into their remodeled offices and the 1 million books that were moved during the renovation need to be replaced in their proper sections, Ehrhorn said.

Ehrhorn said the departments should be moved in by Dec. 1 and the books sorted by May 2003.

OTHER renovations included:

>> A relocated circulation desk.

>> Expanded microforms and current periodical reading rooms.

>> A new map collection room.

>> An expanded special collections reading room, which contains rare books and the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association Plantation Archives.

>> New conference rooms.

>> A reconfigured area for the Library and Information Science program.

University of Hawaii

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