30 years in, Link to see first renovation

Thomas Sasdi

The all-night study hub between Dewitt Wallace Library and Old Main, colloquially known as “The Link”, will soon undergo significant renovations for the first time since its 1988 construction. The remodeling is scheduled for summer 2019. Members of Facilities Services hope that the changes will both increase the space’s accessibility and update its aesthetic.

“We will be installing new carpet, new paint, new (mobile) furniture, white boards, additional lockers, and the doors to Old Main will have glass panels in them,” Lief wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly.

“We’d like it to be an appealing space for students to spend time studying, meeting and hanging out,” Lief wrote. “As the only 24/7 space available to off campus students, we felt it was important to rejuvenate the space and give it new life, incorporating some of the lessons we learned from the Library second level remodel.”

The decision to remodel the space comes on the heels of MCSG Bill 0025, A Bill to Improve the Quality of Life for Off-Campus Students By Purchasing More Lockers. The bill, championed by Andy Han ’19, was passed in March 2018 and allocated $3,000 to the project in an effort to support students with special needs and students who live off campus. Han is pleased to see that the renovation is underway.

“I am pleased to hear that there are plans underway to install new lockers in the Link,” Han wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly. “I hope the lockers will be spacious and accommodating so that more students, especially those living off-campus, can store belongings without feeling the need to pack their bags for the entire day. By fostering a place where students can securely store and access textbooks, binders, snacks, and other essentials throughout the day, the lockers will improve the quality of life for students.”

“When that request came through, we looked at the space and realized that giving the space a full facelift was a more appropriate way to approach things,” Lief wrote. “The finishes are worn, the furniture is dated, etc. Its [sic.] an opportunity to create another vibrant space for students to use on campus.”

According to Lief, multiple contractors will be involved in the project, not all of whom have been selected. Meanwhile, the design is mostly complete.

“We have most of the design worked out,” Lief wrote. “There will be a slight modification to the space where the phones used to be to allow the vending [machines] to be moved to that location. Lockers will inhabit the space where the vending [machines] are currently. The doors to Old Main will be replaced with doors that have a glass panel in them. That will potentially allow us to unlock those doors during daytime hours to allow traffic in and out of Old Main.”

However, Lief noted that feedback from students and library staff might affect the appearance of remodeled Link. the library staff may provide feedback from the student body that will affect the final product.

Ultimately, however, the remodel seems fairly straightforward.

The Link’s renovation may be followed by others in the upcoming year or two. At his annual budget presentation to MCSG on Feb. 12, Vice President of Administration and Finance David Wheaton mentioned that student affairs is also planning a refresh of the first floor of Kagin Commons in the near future, although the details are yet to finalized.

“There just aren’t a lot of options for moving or adding walls due to the size and construction of the space,” Lief wrote. “Its [sic.] really about making the current layout work a little better and updating the look of the space.”

Because the remodel is scheduled for this coming summer, Lief expects The Link to remain available to students for the remainder of the semester.

Margaret Moran ’21 contributed to the reporting for this article.