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April 1, 2004, Vol. 3, No. 6
Santa Clara University


New Library construction











Automated Retrieval System rises behind Orradre 

When completed in January 2005, it will be one of eight in U.S. 

In case you were wondering what that giant hole and steel superstructure is behind Orradre Library, it's the first stages of the University's new Automated Retrieval System.

The nearly $10 million project, one of only eight such systems in place or underway in U.S. universities, will begin providing library patrons with copies of older books and library materials as early as January 2005, according to Ron Danielson, chief information officer of the University.

"Books will probably be the last category of materials moved to the ARS," Danielson explained. "Instead, we will probably begin with older bound periodicals, some government documents, archival and special collection materials, then monographs."

“Books will probably be the last category of materials to be moved into the ARS.”
—Ron Danielson 

How will it work? The materials will be stored in such a way as to automate and speed up the retrieval process for students and faculty, using computer-controlled cranes. They will select from an online catalog and receive any item in less than five minutes.

The new three-story structure will have a capacity of 900,000 "less-frequently used" items, 150,000 more than the current SCU capacity.

The first phase of a new library

Decisions about which materials will move into the ARS structure will be a joint venture between faculty and librarians, and that decision will probably vary by discipline, Danielson added. The ARS building is designed as a first phase of a new $75 million state-of-the-art library. But officials said demolition of Orradre and construction of the new library won't begin until all the money is raised. In the meantime, the ARS will operate with the existing Orradre Library.

Of the library pledges so far, the three largest donors are BusinessWire founder Lorry Lokey, $20 million; The Bill Hannon Foundation, $4 million pledge; and c) a federal grand of $894,000.

Once the University obtains pledges for the new library, (about $25 million has been raised so far), and the main construction begins, the ARS will operate in conjunction with "interim service sites." Danielson said.

One of only eight in the U.S.

There are four universities with ARS systems in operation: Cal State Northridge, Eastern Michigan, Sonoma State, and University of Nevada Los Vegas. There are four other schools in various stages of implementing an ARS: Valparaiso, Cleveland State, University of British Columbia, and SCU. (It's likely one or two of those will be in operation before SCU.)

The vendor that will be installing the SCU system is HK Systems, Inc., of New Berlin, Wisconsin. Automated Retrieval Systems are one way that libraries are economically and effectively storing resources.

Joe Sugg, assistant vice president for operations, said the general contractor for the $9.7 million ARS project begun in November 2003 is Devcon Construction, Inc., which also built the Pat Malley Center for Fitness and Recreation, and the remodeled Leavey Center.

He said the project includes unique construction methods designed to avoid any groundwater flooding (which plagued Orradre in the late 1990s). The same approach being used for the ARS will be used for the new library.

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