Cudahy Library has reopened after undergoing a much needed revamp this summer to improve its energy efficiency.
The $5 million project replaced the heating and air conditioning system and the elevators, according to Dean of Libraries Marianne Ryan. The electrical switchboard and fire alarm system were updated as well.
The project was funded with allocations from capital funds, according to Ryan.
Due to construction, the 87-year-old library was closed from May 13 through Aug. 14.
Ryan said the summer construction brought Cudahy to 21st century standards. The building’s infrastructure hadn’t changed since 1969, and there were issues with temperature fluctuations and the elevators operated inconsistently.
Ryan said it was unclear how long Cudahy was having issues before the project began.
Before, there were four units controlling temperature in the building. Now, there is one large, consolidated air unit on the third floor that runs on a water-based system, according to Heather McNitt, project manager for facilities.
The water-based system will be more cost and energy efficient compared to powering heating and cooling with electricity.
The new system uses hot water to heat the building, and is expected to reduce electricity use by 65 percent, saving 7,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to Adam Sanders, an associate with Elara Engineering, the company that designed the project.
Sanders said about $200,000 will be saved annually in energy costs.
Metric tons measure the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and contributes to global warming.
McNitt said the new system will keep the temperature consistent, create a more comfortable environment and is cheaper than using electric energy.
“There used to be a lot of hot spots [and] a lot of cold spots,” McNitt said. “Now you’re going to see the temperature here is much more controlled, and it’s a nicer place to be in and work in.”
The first floor was also re-arranged so the circulation desk would be more accessible, according to Ryan. The circulation desk now faces the computer area where students work, instead of the elevator, and creates a more open atmosphere, according to McNitt.
Cudahy has undergone multiple construction projects since it was first built in 1930. It was also dedicated in 1930, back when it was just the Donovan Reading Room — a large study space between the Information Commons and the main area of the library.
The first major renovation occurred in 1969, when a $3 million wrap-around addition was built. The addition increased seating and book capacity, and is now where many students study and find books.
The Donovan Reading Room underwent a restoration about five years ago, according to McNitt. This project restored the stone structure and mural and installed new carpeting.
Last year, the Special Collections, which holds university archives and rare books, was updated and reopened, according to McNitt. This project gave documents a permanent storage location in Cudahy.
Graduate student in public health Mane Nikolaou said she’s still getting used to seeing the new changes in Cudahy. Nikolaou also attended Loyola for her undergraduate degree and said she’s happy about the new heating and cooling system.
“The library used to be pretty cold actually, so I like that now the temperature in here has become more stabilized,” Nikolaou said.
Shannon Drage, 21, said the new first floor layout stood out to her the most.
“The circulation desk really surprised me,” the senior film major said. “I went up to the second floor and came down from the back and was like ‘Where did it go?’ But … it looks very nice and the circulation desk is in a better spot and more convenient and accessible from where you’d be.”
Construction in Cudahy isn’t finished yet. Updates on the electrical system are ongoing, but the project is expected to be completed later this fall, according to Ryan. While students can access the main area and find books in the stacks, the Donovan Reading Room is closed and will open in November.