In February 2011 PSA-Dewberry was engaged to assist in developing a Master Plan for the University of North Texas Libraries. The need for such a study was based on the current crowded conditions, an aspiration to gain top tier research institution status as defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the impact of technology since the construction of the existing libraries, and the changing needs of students as well as researchers. A previous space consultant report had recommended such a master plan.
The purpose of the study is to define a vision and set a path for services and the development of physical facilities for the Denton campus libraries for the next twenty years. A further goal is to identify collaborative initiatives that will enrich the Library’s effectiveness, engage the growing student body, and support a vibrant UNT community.
The resulting master plan was structured in two volumes and is available here:
- UNT Libraries Master Plan Vol. 1 (20 Year Plan)
- UNT Libraries Master Plan Vol. 2 (Current Building Assessment)
- The ideal program consolidates the libraries into fewer locations: an expanded Willis and several off-campus shelving facilities by 2031. The renovation of Willis will be comprehensive with the structure being the only portion retained. The renovation will include replacing the façade, thereby allowing the original building to be unified with the addition, increasing the amount of natural light in the building, and improving its energy efficiency. Aditionally, a tall atrium will run the length of the Highland facade. Views into the building will be of the learning commons, cafe and other collaborative spaces, while roof terraces will animate the building at the upper levels.
- The Libraries currently have five facilities: Willis Library, Media Library, Eagle Commons Library, Discovery Park Library, and the Annex. Within the next year, the RCL (Research Collections Library) will be completed and will provide another shelving facility. A team of architects and engineers, accessibility and code consultants reviewed the condition of Willis Library. A comprehensive report is contained in Volume 2 of the Master Plan.
- Early in the study, the Committee embarked on a substantial benchmarking exercise. This included visiting four universities (Rice, University of Houston, University of Las Vegas Nevada and University of Nebraska-Lincoln) which were identified as having initiatives similar to those identified in our visioning. Additionally, data was collected from twelve peer institutions that were selected for their membership in the Association of Research Libraries and their similarities to UNT. Lastly, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) library space predications were considered.