The third floor of the Uni’s Science Library has been stripped of books and is set to become office spaces for the Sciences Divisional Board i.e. the people who run the Science programmes at Otago.
According to Campus Development Division Director Tanya Syddal, the area is to be fit out about midway through this year and into October. The University's plans include knocking out a wall from the Science Library's third floor into the Dodd-Walls Centre in Science 3, linking both the main science building and the library.
One student told Radio One that the doomed floor was their favourite spot to study and that they were “not happy”. “It's already hard to find a spot to study, and that was the one place you could go to at 10am and maybe find a seat during the exam period.”
Another student spoken to by Radio One, Cheyenne, said it made her “a bit annoyed”. “Students already have limited study space, and taking away an area like the third floor makes our lives harder.” She questioned whether or not the increase in office space was needed.
Tanya said that any study space lost will be made up for on other floors. According to Pro-Vice Chancellor Sciences Richard Barker, this space has been created by identifying books and journals around the Science Library that are less frequently used, and moving them into storage.
Work to convert the third floor is already underway. All the books on the third floor were removed during the mid-semester break and placed in library storage at 109 Leith Street. Students are able to request these books through the library's website. Radio One recently requested a book from storage. It took nearly 2 days to be available for collection.
The moving process took library staff six full eight-hour days. More regularly accessed books and journals have been amalgamated into the shelves on the second floor.
The current Science Divisional Office, located opposite the Mellor Labs building on Union Street, will be demolished to allow an extension of the Union Lawn. In a statement to Radio One, Pro-Vice Chancellor Sciences Richard Barker said that the current buildings “do not meet modern standards or a modern working environments needs, and meeting those standards would be cost prohibitive". However, it unclear that union lawn itself measures up to present day turf management standards.