$70M high-tech library on track for Grand Valley State University's Allendale campus

It's reported to be the most technologically advanced building on Grand Valley State University's Allendale campus and features an automated storage retrieval system (ASRS) that enables the school to house tens of thousands of books in a fraction of the space required by traditional library shelving.

Construction on the $70 million Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons begins May 5, 2011, and project leaders at Pioneer Construction are in the throes of wrapping up subcontractor vetting for the proposed LEED-NC Platinum facility.

The 153,000-square-foot library features faculty suites, student collaboration areas, a cafe and a quiet reading room and reading hearth that will overlook the campus clock tower, ravine and central campus. Visitors enter through a multi-level atrium with a glass curtain wall and a soaring 62-foot-high ceiling.

"The ASRS allows the library to store thousands of books in bin-type storage," says Scott Veine, Pioneer's project manager. "Students go to a computer and type in book they want, then the automated crane retrieves the bin and brings it to the user."

Pioneer has narrowed the ASRS search down to two West Michigan manufacturers, but has yet to decide. The company will soon make final decisions on LEED-centric materials such as natural quartzite stone, low VOC paints and glues, Vision Wall systems and furniture, carpet and structural steel with recycled content.

Veine was Pioneer's project manager for GVSU's John C. Kennedy Hall of Engineering (LEED certified) on its Grand Rapids Pew Campus, and has worked on other GVSU construction projects for the past six years.

"I truly believe the library is going to be the premier building on the Allendale campus," Veine says. "Grand Valley builds for the next 30 and 60 and 90 years, and for my team to fall into that philosophy of campus development means this is going to be our capstone project for sure."

Experience a virtual tour of the library:

SHW Group is the project architect.

Source: Scott Veine and Chris Beckering, Pioneer Construction; Mary Ann Holcomb, Grand Valley State University
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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