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CCU to build Library Learning Complex and renovate Kimbel Library

February 12, 2021
CCU's Kimbel Library, which opened in November 1977, will undergo a $10 million renovation.CCU’s new Library Learning Complex will replace the parking lot and be adjacent to Kimbel Library (bottom right).Preliminary elevations of CCU's new Library Learning Complex.

Coastal Carolina University is planning to substantially grow and upgrade its library facilities. The University recently received state approval to build a $29.8 million Library Learning Complex adjacent to Kimbel Library, which will undergo a $10 million renovation of its own.

The two projects are being funded by the State Capital Reserve Fund, Horry County penny sales tax for education, and a private donation. CCU's board of trustees approved the Library Learning Complex in August 2019 in response to needs identified in the University's campus Master Plan. Tentative completion date for the Library Learning Complex is Fall 2023, and Kimbel renovations will begin thereafter with a completion date slated for late 2024.

"I would maintain that at the core of any great institution is a great library," said CCU President Michael T. Benson. "These projects will help to further improve and invigorate the center of our campus as new and renovated spaces for students to meet, study, collaborate, and learn come to fruition within the next few years. We thank all those who have helped in the planning and funding of these projects as we continually strive to provide the best possible facilities for our students, faculty, staff, and community."

According to Melvin Davis, University librarian, the two-story, 64,000-square-foot Library Learning Complex will integrate much-needed student spaces and services with cutting-edge immersive technologies. The first floor will feature a large makerspace, a virtual reality lab, data visualization, and individual studios for video/audio production. It will also feature a large, open study area for collaboration and socialization. Library services such as instruction and research assistance, and equipment checkout will be located in the facility. The second floor will house areas such as academic tutoring and student computing services. Additional group study rooms will be located throughout the building.

Kimbel Library renovation plans, which are under development, involve an interior redesign and reconfiguration to include designated space for archives and special collections, overflow group-study space, multifunction instruction area, reading and conference rooms, restroom upgrades, and new paint, carpet, and lighting. The plans also include a new HVAC system, suspended ceiling and associated lighting, and electrical upgrades to accommodate the new building's new features.

"When Kimbel Library opened in 1977, it was designed to serve 1,400 students," said Daniel Ennis, CCU's provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Even with subsequent expansions and renovations, it was never intended to serve more than 10,000 students. The new Library Learning Complex will immediately become one of the finest academic libraries in the state, and will provide students access to study spaces, enhanced academic support, and state-of-the art learning technologies.

"A university's excellence starts with its library, and we have been blessed with a fantastic staff who has done wonders with an outdated facility. With the construction of the new building and the renovation of the existing library, our facilities will match our aspirations."

Davis added: "This is a timely opportunity to re-envision library facilities and services. With changes in libraries and research during the past couple of decades, we need to create spaces that speak to the future."