UHV Library prepares to move into new University Commons
Construction on the University of Houston-Victoria University Commons is nearing completion with the library moving at the end of May to the second and third floors of UHV’s first student center.
To accommodate the move, the library will be closed to the public from May 17 to June 2. Library resources and services will continue to be available to UHV and Victoria College students and faculty. The library officially will open in its new space inside University Commons on June 3 at the start of UHV summer classes.
“The new library space located inside UHV’s first student center will allow us to better serve both UHV and VC students,” said Joe Dahlstrom, UHV senior director of libraries. “It takes a lot of work to get a library moved, but we do not want to inconvenience the students, so our goal is to be ready to open on the first day of summer classes. As we make these changes to the library location, we look forward to continuing to provide the resources and services our students need.”
A portion of the library’s archive temporarily will be housed on the third floor of the existing VC/UHV Library until the former Town Plaza Mall renovation is completed in summer 2020. In 2017, the university purchased a portion of the former mall, located in the 1500 block of Airline Road just east of Laurent Street, to house the UHV Small Business Development Center, Partnerships for Regional Economic Prosperity, kinesiology program and university classrooms. The additional space also will have climate-controlled space for records retention, storage and books. Once it is renovated, a retrieval system will be available to those who wish to check out archived books that are not immediately on hand in the new library.
“Our retrieval system will be in place so that we can fulfill requests for archived items within a day or less,” Dahlstrom said. “We’ve identified materials in our collection that haven’t been used much in the last five to 10 years, and those will be the ones placed in off-site storage.”
Most of the remaining 80,124-square-foot, three-story University Commons is expected to open in time for fall classes.
The new building is located on the east side of Ben Wilson Street, directly across from the UHV University Center. The first floor will include a food court; a market with a coffee bar featuring Starbucks coffee and grab-and-go food and convenience items; a Follett bookstore; a video game area; a multi-purpose room with seating for up to 250 people; and study and lounge areas. The food court, which will open in December, will feature Chick-fil-A and will have space for another restaurant that will open as student enrollment grows. The second floor will house the Center for Student Involvement which will have space designated for student organizations as well as offices for the Student Government Association, Student Life and Student Affairs. A Student Services Suite also will be located on the second floor and will house Disability Services, Student Conduct and Counseling.
“The new University Commons will be a focal point for students,” said Wayne Beran, UHV vice president for finance and administration. “Many activities will take place in the new building as it is centrally located on campus.”
UHV’s incoming SGA president, Christopher McDonald, said he is happy to have another location for meetings and get-togethers.
“I’m excited about University Commons because it will be a great opportunity for students who live both on and off campus to meet and get to know each other,” Mcdonald said. “It’s a neutral spot where everyone can have lunch, hold meetings, study and even host events. It’s just a great area that will encourage students to collaborate.”
A project to allow UHV to reduce the number of traffic lanes on Ben Wilson Street in front of University Commons also will come before the Victoria City Council May 21 for a vote. The change will let students and employees safely cross the street. Beginning June 3, UHV shuttles will add a route to pick up students from UHV University Center and transport them to University Commons. The university also is designing a temporary pedestrian crossing across Ben Wilson Street to be in place by the end of 2019.
In February 2015, UHV students living within a 50-mile radius of Victoria voted on assessing themselves a fee to fund the student center. More than 80 percent voted in favor of the fee, and then a few months later, the Texas Legislature approved a bill allowing for the assessment. The fee first was assessed in fall 2015. That year, the Legislature also allocated $60 million to UHV in construction bonds for academic expansion and land acquisition. A portion of that money is funding the library inside University Commons.
Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-nzisSnCwQ to see a flyover video rendering of what University Commons will look like once it is finished.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching center in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities, and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.