New year, new library: J.D. Williams completes major renovations

Posted on Jan 23 2018 - 8:15am by Rachel Ishee

Renovations to the first floor of the J.D. Williams Library over winter break. Photo by Marlee Crawford

Students who made visits to the J.D. Williams Library the first day of classes were greeted by several renovations throughout the interior of the building.

“New flooring has been installed on most of the first floor,” Stan Whitehorn, head of library facilities, said. “Some color has been added to a few accent walls on the first and third floors.”

Although new flooring was installed at the east entrance two years ago, the library had not seen renovations of this size in years.

“The carpet had been in place since 1995 and was showing its age,” Whitehorn said. “Facilities Planning was most helpful in getting this new floor.”

In addition to several renovations, furniture has also been rearranged to better accommodate the updated interior, without a loss in seating.

Starbucks also received some updates including new equipment, a fresh coat of paint, updated lighting and décor, a new

The display case in the Starbucks at the J.D. Williams Library was renovated over the winter break. Photo by Xinyi Song

seating layout and an extended bar where students can pick up their drinks.

“Starbucks came to campus in 2011, and this is the first time it has undergone renovations,” Amy Greenwood, the marketing coordinator for Ole Miss dining services said.

“All of the enhancements we made to the dining program are based on student feedback, and are designed to provide students with even more opportunities to enjoy their overall dining experience,” Greenwood said.  

The renovations in the eastern wing of the library cost around $22,000 and were paid for by university funds, director of Facilities Planning and university architect Ian Banner said. He said a third-party vendor, Aramark, contracted by the university was responsible for the costs and renovations associated with the Starbucks.

Junior accounting major Skyler Knapp said he was happy to see the recent changes.

“I think there were some areas of the library that very visibly needed attention,” Knapp said. “I was surprised to see them redo the floors in some areas. Overall, I think it was time for the facelift.”

Although many students agree the library needed updates, some think more still needs be done to create a better study environment for students. Senior criminal justice major Blake Spiers said he feels that the library interior is lacking compared to other SEC schools’ libraries.

Tables were added to the dining area in Starbucks at the J.D. Williams Library over the winter break. Photo by Xinyi Song

“They really need more seating because there is a lot of wasted space in the library,” Spiers said. “That space could be filled with more tables and desks, because around midterms and finals week, you cannot find a seat.”

Sophomore psychology major Madison Gunter shared a similar opinion about the lack of seating.

“I don’t think the library really needed any renovations, unless it’s for more places to sit,” Gunter said.

Whitehorn said this issue could be solved in the coming years.
“We are planning to add seating in the library in the near future,” Whitehorn said. “We are currently in the planning phases of these efforts.”

Whitehorn said he hopes the new renovations will freshen up the appearance of the library and make the space more user-friendly for students in the future.