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Groundbreaking will make new library a reality

  • Pictured is a rendering of the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons.

Posted on September 14, 2010

Grand Valley officials and community leaders will break ground and celebrate the start of construction on the new Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons on Tuesday, September 21.

The ceremony starts at noon in a tent near the Kirkhof Center. Remarks will be made by President Thomas J. Haas, Provost Gayle R. Davis and Shaping Our Future campaign co-chairs Jim and Donna Brooks and Dan DeVos.

Kate Pew Wolters, chair of Grand Valley’s Board of Trustees, will also speak on behalf of her family — the building is named for her mother. Wolters said the groundbreaking is largely ceremonial but added that it "makes the library more of a reality for the campus and our family.

"There are so many people who have worked for years to get to this point, it will be great to be able to celebrate with them and look forward to the day that we can walk through the front doors together," Wolters said. "This is more than just another building on campus to me, it's a tangible symbol of my mother’s commitment to education and my father’s commitment to Grand Valley."

The Pew Library will provide approximately 1,500 seats for student study, 20 group study rooms, and offices and support areas for faculty and staff members. There will be room for 150,000 books on open shelves and 600,000 books in an automated storage/retrieval system.

The campus community is welcome at the groundbreaking ceremony but reservations are required. To make reservations, please contact Linda Schmidt at no later than Wednesday, September 15.

It will replace the Zumberge Library on the Allendale Campus that was built in 1969 for a projected student body of 5,000; today, there are 24,500 students enrolled.

In February, Grand Valley officials decided to go forward with the Pew Library without waiting for state funding. More than 530 donors have contributed nearly $20.5 million to the project; there is still $4.5 million to raise. Construction will begin in earnest this spring and the library is expected to be completed in 2013.

Visit to see design renderings, floor plans and to take a virtual tour of the library.

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