Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Developing Tomorrow's Leaders
Mansfield: 150 Years of History

North Hall P. 6

In June of 1993 bids were released to five different contractors. These included G.M. McCrossin Inc. of Bellefonte, PA.; Silvertip Inc. of Lewisburg PA; Schoonover Plumbing & Heating of Canton PA; G.O Wick Electric Inc. of Elmira NY; and Aven Fire System, Inc of Newcastle PA. The head architects during the Renovation was Eckles company/architects from Newcastle PA. The building systems engineer was Pascoe Engineering Consultants Inc., also from Newcastle. The project was overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services.

The renovation, which began in August 1994 took 18 months, and cost $10 million. According to Nesbitt, the renovation included adding more steel columns to increase the weight support needed for a library. All steel beams are camouflaged by white columns. Other major renovations included restoring/reopening the atrium, incorporating internet access, and encasing the porches in glass. "The challenge of a school is to use buildings as a primary indicator of academic vitality and student success," Nesbitt said. "Before the North Hall renovation, all MU had buildings looked like shoeboxes… we had no building in use that stood out and made the statement that we're a good school."

North Hall was the first library in the U.S. that was planned with complete internet access. All the furniture in the library has an 1890's feel, and was designed by Brodart Furniture Company. Nesbitt mentioned that the shape of the 1912 plaque, which is arched at the top, was the inspiration for the architectural design that appears as a theme throughout the library. Nesbitt was involved in every detail of the renovation process, right down to the types, colors and shapes of the nuts and bolts.

The library officially opened on July 1, 1996. The transformation was unlike anything in campus history. "If you have a little money and persistence it's just phenomenal what you can get," Nesbitt said. The Traditional Reading Room was dedicated to Dr. Larry Nesbitt upon his retirement in 2005.

Today, North Hall continues to play an important role on campus for students. There have been some additions to the library since the renovation. These include energy efficient lights and windows, as well as the incorporation of wireless internet from anywhere in the library. Bean bag chairs for the students were also added. "I want this library to be the student's library. You want them to be comfortable and respectful of it and they always have been… they are fantastic with that," said Scott Dimarco, the current library director. "We want a library for the next generation of students, one that says to students we're here for you."

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