SPEARFISH — A bill introduced in the legislature on behalf of the South Dakota Board of Regents, would tap the state Higher Education Facilities Fund to build onto the E.Y. Berry Library at Black Hills State University.

House Bill 1045 has been referred to the Joint Committee on Appropriations.

The cost of the renovation is anticipated to cost about $9 million, nearly all of which would come from the Higher Education Facilities Fund, said Corinne Hansen, director of University and Community Relations for BHSU. Less than $100,000 would come from energy efficiency savings as well as a donation from Black Hills Energy.

The library, constructed in 1973, is 62,036 square feet. The addition, building onto the front – the east – and south sides of the building. 

The renovations would improve the electrical, HVAC, and lighting – all of which are original to the building; would improve ADA accessibility, and would add a sprinkler system.

“The library is nearly 50 years old and has all of its original systems including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC,” said Kathy Johnson, vice president for Finance & Administration. “These systems have been properly maintained and continue to work, but they need to be updated.  There are some life safety and accommodation issues that need to be addressed as well including the addition of a fire suppression system and a more accessible elevator.” 

Spaces created would be more study space and rooms; space for a student success center to offer advising, tutoring, a math, writing, and career center; a video creation and editing room; maker space; expanded café seating; and a new entrance on the west side of the building. 

“… the library is a hub of activity on the BHSU campus providing space for students to research, collaborate, study, and dine.  The renovation will incorporate additional technology resources, flexible spaces, and student services making it an even more desirable and necessary space on campus,” Johnson said. “By embracing digital tools, the library is a focal point for all students and their search for information whether they are located on campus or off.”

Constriction on the library is anticipated to begin in 2021 with it being completed in 2023.

The library renovation has been on the university’s long-term facilities plan for years. Johnson said the next new construction project would be a new wellness center, which will be attached to the Young Center. A date for the construction of this facility has not yet been set.

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