A great library is an essential component of a great university. As SMU celebrates its centennial, the University has unveiled a new initiative to modernize the Fondren Library Center, updating the facility in line with a new model of libraries as centers of interactive technology and vital campus gathering places. The new initiative is a key priority of The Second Century Campaign.
The planned renovations and upgrades will constitute a much-needed alteration of the library’s interior spaces through thoughtful design, creating an environment conducive to study, research and intellectual explorations of all kinds. Enhancements include optimization of user spaces, technology upgrades, the addition of new public programming capabilities and various operational improvements.
The project will create a functional and aesthetically pleasing space that allows for the preservation and expansion of print collections, development of future digital initiatives and expanded public spaces for programs and exhibits. At the same time, the library will remain within the existing footprint of the complex.
“Together with Dallas Hall, the Fondren Library Center is one of the central buildings on the main quad and the heart of academic life at SMU,” says Gillian M. McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries.
“The planned renovation will allow us to restore the building to its former grandeur – with an iconic grand reading room experience – while upgrading the infrastructure to handle 21st-century needs to be connected 24/7. Faculty and students will still find their quiet study spaces while being able to engage together in communal discourse.”
A new feature of the Fondren Library Center that will become a popular destination point is a café and browsing area. During regular library hours, patrons will be able to enjoy a wide variety of food and beverages. Since the library remains open much later than most food service sites on campus, the café will offer a welcome alternative to vending machines for students and University visitors.
SMU is currently seeking funding support for this essential project, and the Fondren Library Center renovation includes numerous naming opportunities for donors. The most prominent of these opportunities is the naming of the current Science Information Center, to be transformed and repurposed as the Special Collections Research Center Building.
The facility is the last available building for naming on the main quad.