In the late Fall 2009 semester, the space consultant Charles Forrest visited UNT to conduct an analysis of library facilities. The following is text from his report.
I was invited by Dean of Libraries Dr. Martin Halbert to conduct a two‐day site visit at the University of North Texas Libraries, then file a report consisting of a brief assessment of current facilities, a description of gaps and needs, and recommendations for action in the near‐, middle‐, and long‐term. The results of the site visit are summarized in this report in three main sections:
- General overview of library facilities;
- A unit by unit summary of staff conversations and observations; and
- Recommendations for future development of library facilities.
The primary recommendation is to begin as soon as possible a master planning process for the University of North Texas Libraries.
A Master Plan for the UNT Libraries
There has been tremendous growth on the UNT campus in the last fifteen years; the UNT Libraries have not kept pace. The UNT Libraries should initiate as soon as possible a master planning process designed to chart the growth of the UNT Libraries over the next five to twenty years. A Master Plan for the UNT Libraries will consist of:
- A description and current state assessment of the Libraries’ buildings and spaces (architecture and engineering), including its utility infrastructure (mechanical, electrical and plumbing);
- An outline of the Libraries’ mission, vision and goals, including an account of how they align with the University’s vision and mission;
- A program statement describing the Libraries’ plans and projections for growth, expansion and transformation of resources and services in response to the changing needs of the University community;
- An analysis of the square foot deficits and gaps between the libraries’ projected facility needs and its current state, including utility infrastructure, codes and regulations, and program support;
- A recommended sequence of intervention, renovation and construction to incrementally develop Library facilities to support the needs of the campus and the academic community, and move the Library toward realization of its longterm vision.
Such a planning process can take two to three years to complete and cost between $300,000 and $500,000, a significant investment of money and time. But consider that a well‐designed Master Plan will serve as a framework to guide Library facility development for many years, and inform the investment of potentially millions of dollars in capital expenditures. The University of North Texas has declared its ambition to be a tier 1 research institution. It will need a tier 1 library to achieve that goal. The UNT Libraries want to join the campus in realizing its aspirations. A rigorous and active Facilities Master Plan can help the Library achieve its goals.