West Virginia Wesleyan College has announced plans to begin a $2 million renovation of the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library this spring. The master plan is a culmination of careful study, design, interviews, and statistical analysis to evolve the critical function of the library on Wesleyan’s campus. The executive team of campus stakeholders, along with BHDP Architects of Cincinnati, OH, have generated a plan that is centered upon the student experience and the ways students interact with the faculty and staff that support their education.
The entire Wesleyan campus community was invited to participate in the design process and was engaged in strategic ways to help guide the planning team. Students, faculty, and staff participated in a number of focus group sessions in order for the design team to understand the scope of what is needed for the project.
The master plan of the project rebalances various functions of the library to focus more on the ways that students learn and study in the current technological and sociological context. The plan also affords the College and library to change over time as those forces dynamically change.
“While our current building has served us very well for over 65 years, the library staff has been seeing the changing trends in the ways students interact with the library facility, library resources, technology, and each other for a while now. Libraries are still very much relevant to a liberal arts education, and I am excited that this update to our building will preserve the central function of libraries while also maximizing flexibility and creating an exciting, adaptable space that will inspire and support the entire Wesleyan community,” stated Brett Miller ’06, director of library services and archivist at Wesleyan.
“This project will literally transform this campus. Students, faculty, and the larger community will be the beneficiaries of this renovation. It’s one more example of what makes West Virginia Wesleyan a leader in the region — investing in learning and the search for wider knowledge so that our students continue to be leaders when they leave here,” shared Dr. James Moore, dean of the faculty.
Among the new features of the plan are:
- A new rear entrance facing toward the center of campus that will improve accessibility,
- An expansion of available individual and small group study spaces, focusing on a diversity of furniture solutions,
- Consolidation of some academic services, such as tutoring and writing center, to take place in the library facility,
- 24-hour access
- A focus on the student experience as they occupy the space.
The vision of the space will be driven forward by the five design drivers of timeless, inclusive, community, comfort, and supportive; each of which will provide a different embodiment of the Wesleyan experience. When the project is completed, the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library will become the academic hub of the Wesleyan campus.
Wesleyan students are extremely excited about the project. “Student Senate is very appreciative to have been a part of the design process,” said Catherine Bandak, president and a senior biology major from Charleston. “Student involvement was crucial in ensuring the library meets the needs of those who will use it most, and we hope the improvements will be utilized for many years to come. We are most excited about the addition of group study rooms, improved common spaces, and the new rear entrance to the building. We believe these improvements are crucial if the library is to remain a key resource for students, and hope to continue to be involved in this exciting process.”
The Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library opened its doors in 1953 and a wraparound addition was completed in 1972. This renovation project is funded through the $10 million U.S. Department of Education Title III Grant that Wesleyan received in the fall of 2014. That grant has also allowed Wesleyan to renovate the majority of its classroom spaces and has provided funding for the Student Success Center, which offers a number of programs to assist students.