Six electric transformers are to be installed on the first floor of the Morris R. Cohen Library, located within the North Academic Center, according to The Campus, the student newspaper at CCNY.
The power would support two new science facilities currently being built on the South Campus.
College administrators did not officially release the construction plans-news of the future construction leaked inadvertently.
“My provost found out at a meeting and told me and gave me the plans,” said Pamela Gillespie, chief librarian of the Cohen Library. “I was devastated and it was hard to philosophically grip what happened.”
According to the latest plans, which Gillespie said were about 90 percent completed, the power plant facility will occupy 16,700 square feet of the 20,722 square-foot floor of the five-story library. 200 seats will remain on the first floor for student organizational meetings or studying.
Students are concerned they may end up competing for studying locations during exam weeks.
“Its really inconvenient,” said Marcus David, a first-year at CCNY. “I come here almost every day to study and get homework done.”
“We dont have a whole lot of room in this library,” said professor Martin Helgesen, a librarian at the Cohen Library. “Overcrowding, especially toward end of the year with finals and papers, is definitely a possibility.”
CCNY administrators did not return repeated calls for comment.
The impending construction has also raised questions of what to do with almost 200,000 books and reference materials. The administration spoke of compact moveable shelving, but this plan remains unlikely due to high costs and safety concerns.
According to The Campus, the books may be tossed out due to high costs of relocation.
Many also voiced concerns about the proximity of such a highly concentrated power source to a large number of people.
“Obviously its not healthy,” said Brian Green, 07. “Even though its on the first floor, the harmful chemicals and effects will move up to the floors where we are.”
Helgesen, who worked at CCNY for over 40 years, said he worries about the effect of the plant on his pacemaker.
“Its really concerning because I might not be able to work here anymore,” he said.
Â© Copyright 2007 Columbia Daily Spectator
Read the original story at:The Columbia Spectator