Traditional is becoming modern as the University of Nebraska–Lincoln readies for a $22.5 million redevelopment of C.Y. Thompson Library.
The renovation, which launches in August, will redefine the 53-year-old East Campus landmark. The project will reconfigure the entire building, adding a technology-laden and collaboration-friendly learning commons for students; numerous study spaces; coffee/snack bar; new home for the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program; and an anchor point for an ongoing upgrade to Legacy Plaza, a greenspace in the core of East Campus.
Funding for the renovation was entirely provided via private donations. Husker alumni and philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott of Omaha provided a leadership contribution for the project as a challenge gift.
As a result of the challenge, the Dinsdale family of Nebraska provided a major gift in honor of brothers Roy G. Dinsdale and John “Jack” A. Dinsdale. Pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, the space will be named the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons in their honor.
“Students are at the core of what we do, so we are especially grateful for the generosity of Ruth and Bill Scott and the Dinsdale family for recognizing and embracing the vision of a new student learning commons on our East Campus,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said. “This reimagined space designed for 21st-century studying and learning will benefit thousands of students, and we foresee a busy and active area full of engaged students.”
The building will continue to be named C.Y. Thompson Library. Read more about gifts that made the renovation possible.
“This new learning commons — much like the Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons in Love Library has done for City Campus — will be transformational for East Campus,” said Nancy Busch, dean of University Libraries. “When complete, the space will create community and encourage engagement between students, faculty and staff.”
The project will transform each floor of the building, condensing book availability into a “power collection” designed to specifically meet current student learning needs. The collection will continue to be evaluated to meet those needs, with lesser-used volumes available — either in-person or by request — in the nearby Library Depository Retrieval Facility.
Book space, student-testing center and staff offices will be on the ground floor. The learning commons will be featured on the first floor, while the second floor will house the Engler program, additional learning commons spaces, and an active-learning classroom/meeting room.
Natural light will flow through the space as pre-cast concrete panels that line the exterior will be replaced with ground-to-roofline windows. The exterior grade will also be reconfigured to meet the new design, aligning the building with the east end of Legacy Plaza.
“When complete, the space will look a little like the learning commons in Love Library, just with more wood,” said Joe Goodwater, project manager with Facilities Management and Planning. “It will definitely have a warm, inviting feel — especially in the new learning commons space.”
Nebraska’s Legacy Plaza project launched in 2015 under the direction of Chancellor Ronnie Green, who, at that time, served as vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. When complete, the plaza will be framed by the redesigned C.Y. Thompson Library, Massengale Residential Center, Dairy Store and Nebraska East Union.
The plaza also includes four bronze sculptures of Nebraskans who have been U.S. secretaries of agriculture.
The C.Y. Thompson Library end of the plaza is expected to include a covered ground-level entrance to the building with ample exterior seating space intermingled with planting beds.
The renovation of C.Y. Thompson Library is scheduled for completion prior to the start of Nebraska’s 2021 spring semester.