If you have visited ZSR Library over the past few months, you must have noticed some construction activity going on. This report will provide an update on the three major projects that have been taking place recently:

  • New Atrium Windows
  • New and Replacement HVAC units for Special Collections and the 8th floor
  • Preview and Testing of new cork floor for the Atrium

New Atrium Windows

Usually, we try to schedule improvement projects so that they take place during the times when there are the least amount of students in the building, when they will cause the least amount of disruption. This season, the scope of the atrium window replacement project was big enough that the project has stretched into September.

The Atrium is one of Wake’s most iconic campus locations. Every campus tour for prospective students ends in the Atrium and the 7 story windows at each end of the space frame the space in an inspiring way. However, the original windows were installed over 20 years ago and were in sad shape. Most panels boasted broken seals causing condensation and reduced energy efficiency. The new window frames have the added benefit of being aluminum (meaning less upkeep in the future, think rotting wood) and the glass will include UV protection.

The west side of the installation is complete and you’ll find scaffolding on the east side now, as Frank L Blum and Pfaffs remove the old windows and install the new ones. We have posted signs in the atrium directing students to other areas for quiet space.

The planned completion date is September 30. We hope everyone will agree that the end result is well worth the means!

Replacing Atrium Windows

Construction workers replacing windows on the west side of the Atrium

HVAC Upgrade Project

For years, there has been a persistent leak from the west side 8th floor HVAC unit that serviced our Special Collections Reading Room. This resulted in a constant threat to the rare collections housed in that room, along with causing damage to the ceiling and floors. At long last, this summer Facilities removed the ancient system and replaced it with a new 21st century unit. In addition, an extra system was installed to handle the HVAC needs for the majority of the 8th floor stack area (Previously they had shared the one unit). To accommodate the extra unit, we sacrificed several book ranges so that a new HVAC room could be built to hold the new unit. Hopefully, once the final touches and tweaks happen, the west-side 6th floor Special Collection areas will be climate controlled (temperature and humidity) and will be dry!

Crew Brings the Units Down Safely

HVAC workers receive the new unit that was delivered to the 8th floor roof via crane

Coming Soon: New Cork Floor for the Entire Atrium

The Atrium flooring (tile and carpet) also date back 20 years to the original installation when the Wilson Wing was built. You don’t have to guess the era just from seeing the blue and orange color scheme…..The carpet and tile are well worn from constant high use of the most popular area in ZSR Library. When deciding what type of flooring to use to replace the old, we traveled to many other libraries to get ideas. Flooring options have really expanded over the last few decades and we have tentatively selected to install cork flooring. It should offer noise reduction in addition to how beautiful it looks. We do want to be certain that it will stand up to normal public wear and tear, so the flooring vendor provided us with a mock-up installation. You will see it installed in the center of the atrium in front of the staircase to Reference. We want to see how it stands up to carts wheeling across it, students running across it during Capture the Flag events and thousands of footsteps that take place over a regular semester! The picture below shows the way we hope the floor will be installed, using a herringbone pattern. We invite your feedback over the next few months.

Worker Applying Sealant to Cork Floor Mockup

A worker installing a mock-up cork floor for us to test this semester