Monday, May 07, 2007

Just looked at the Morris Library construction, they are out of their minds!

I was doing a kid music thing and my 3 year old got restless, so we went for a walk. I caught my first look at the current state of Morris Library and realized that Wendler was fired too late. Was there a group circle jerk among Wendler and the architects to decide to waste so much money and destroy an SIU landmark (check the webcam of the project)?

For those of you out of the loop (as I was), the project has left the first floor intact, but the rest of the build is down to steel girders and nothing else. They have thrown away the entire outside look of the building and are redoing it as a modern building. If you hadn't been on campus for many years and couldn't follow the signs, you will no longer be able to find Morris Library.

Keeping the first floor open while you nuke the upper floors was really stupid. It would have been cheaper to build a new building for the library function and tear the whole building down, then what they have done. If you rip out every wall, every exterior surface, every floor, every shelf, every toilet and leave only the steel girders, do you still have the same building?

Deciding remove the brick facade of the building and replacing it with a new "exciting and modern" look, is a slap in the face of historical look of the campus and surely cost $5M to $10M extra. In 20 years, Morris Library will look like one of those buildings from the 1960's, very much out of date and of that time. Use Faner Hall as our worse case example of how bad things might get.

Now they are months late and millions and millions over budget. They are sucking the extra money out of the places that do the real work at the university, the teaching and research.

How can SIU continue to do such stupid things? Would you give these people your money to help build the next project?

What a shame.

Your comments are welcome.


Anonymous said...

Yes! Right on, Peter!

b.roffmann said...

My theory is that the former administration hated the library and what it represented. Truth, beauty, and the pursuit of knowledge is wonderful, but certain elements of our society hate these things.

i think they won out. i used to love the library. When my library card was stolen it was the worst thing that happened to me.

Anyway, watching the destruction this summer was like receiving a huge "fuck you".

Seeing the result is like losing my home to an adulterer.

Please enjoy the west. If you ever think back, please pray for those of us here who are still oppressed.

cynical prof said...

I agree that keeping the first floor open was really stupid, but this was an effort to keep a place open for the students. I don't think it worked particularly well; many students I've asked have never been in it. It's an awful place to work, and they had to shut it down without notice a couple of times.

I don't like the new design either--it's too complicated. However, the decision to remove the brick facade was dictated by the fact that the old bricks had to be replaced.

For me the biggest problem is that dead-tree books are going to become less and less important, and they didn't really make much provision for that. I'm afraid it's going to be another white elephant.

By the way, Faner may be hideous from the outside and confusing to find one's way in, but some of the offices are pretty nice.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the new building to open. It is really going to be an upscale, nice building. To those of you who don't like it, don't come near the place. I don't want your negative vibes ruining my library experiences. If you're so friggin' oppressed, why don't you move on. Well, on second thought, you can stay, but don't come near the library. Its going to be off limits to people like you.

Peter in Carbondale said...

I like the idea that the "old bricks had to be replaced." I have heard about bricks needing their mortar repaired, but there aren't many bricks that need to be replaced after 50 years. This is architect speak for we want to change the look of the building, isn't it?

I agree about Faner, but the point is that the outside is hideous and the outside of Morris looks to be heading in that direction. Morris was a handsome brick building and has been converted into some architect's flavor of the month.

Anonymous - Wish I could have come up with something so original to add to this thread. Keep thinking, the point is to add ideas. You think that negative vibes have something to do with this?

Anonymous said...

You are simply misinformed about the work on the library being more expensive than a tear-down. They did cost projections on an entirely new building and it was substantially higher than renovating the current building.

And the problems with Faner are far greater than its outward appearance. It is confusing and difficult to navigate. Stairwells are too narrow. Heating and cooling are hit and miss. Leaks are constant. Acoustics in classrooms are horrendous. And I'm not sure where all these 'nice' offices are in Faner. Go over to Neckers or the Engineering buildings and you will find nice offices. If any building on campus needs to be torn down and rebuilt, it is Faner.

Peter in Carbondale said...

I guess it would be expected that the initial estimates were lower for a remodel, but that was before the problems and overruns began. It was clear that doing a remodel of such proportion was going to have problems and overruns.

I'm 100% certain that the decision to tear the facade off the building was very expensive and created most of the delays and overruns so far. Of course, they aren't anywhere near done yet, so it could get worse.

We also don't know the true cost of anything at SIU. They have hidden funds pouring into projects like this one, that aren't publicly accounted for.

It would be interesting to know how the true cost of this remodel compares to the fixed cost of a new building. Want to bet on what construction experts would predict to be cheaper?

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know how the true cost of this remodel compares to the fixed cost of a new building. Want to bet on what construction experts would predict to be cheaper?

Its public information. If you want to know, then go look it up.

Peter in Carbondale said...

Sorry, it is not public information. SIU pours money into these construction projects from all angles. Shifting expenses and personnel to make the total budget seem smaller. We don't know the truth and will never know it.

Anonymous said...

What is the 'historic look' that you wanted preserved? Morris was an ugly building, and in fact, in its old condition it looked like something from the 1960s. I don't understand how you expect that the upgrades are going to be worse.

Also, if we'll never know the amount it is costing, how can you know that they have cost overruns? In fact, they have said that they will not be able to complete the top two floors of the library because all of the funding for the library has not come through. Now why would they admit to that if they could just funnel money from another source to finish the library?

anonymous6 said...

The old facade was not earthquake resistant. Carbondale is not too far from the New Madrid Fault Line.

Peter in Carbondale said...

This sounds like the reasons SIU needs a new football stadium.

Bottom line, they are spending $10M or more on Morris Library and getting a new modern facade. Is it me or does SIU always waste money and hide the results?

Anonymous said...

No, it is not just you Peter. SIU-C is not only unwise when it comes to fiscal matters, it has a history of trashing it's treasures. Bucky Fuller and the ladies gymnastics team come to mind as benchmarks in SIU-Cs downward spiral.

James said...

Yes, everything done at SIU is a template for everything thats wrong. This thought process is very self defeating.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, they are spending $10M or more on Morris Library and getting a new modern facade. Is it me or does SIU always waste money and hide the results?

They are doing far more than putting up a new facade. That you think that only demonstrates your ignorance.

Peter in Carbondale said...

One of the great things about writing this blog is the continual proof of my lack of ignorance. Just because you don't understand, doesn't make me wrong or ignorant (really, not understanding this kind of thing, make you ignorant if you think about it). Time and time again, I prove to be right.

Give it some time, you will see soon enough.