|MASTER PLAN APPROVED
On June 11, 2009, the Board of Directors of the Ghent University approved the master plan proposed by the Book Tower Design Team, headed by Robbrecht and Daem. In itself, this may not be world headline news – after all, the news did not come unexpected – but the underground repository is now part of the master plan and thàt is an important decision indeed! Considering that the repository represents a significant additional cost and that the project will have to be executed within the available budget, the restoration will be broken down into five phases. The first three phases will be executed within the available budget. For the latter two phases, additional funds will be prospected.
Phase 1: 2011 – 2013
Construction of the underground repository beneath the courtyard. Re-modelling of the present computer workplaces and a furnishing of a fully-fledged basement and mezzanine, where an environment for study will be developed providing working space for groups and multimedia. During the further renovation, these rooms will serve as buffers to create working space.
Phase 2: 2013-2016
Restoration of the tower (above and below ground level), façade included. Furnishing of the Belvedere.
Phase 3: 2013-2016
Restoration of the reading rooms (main reading room, periodicals reading room , map room and manuscript reading room). Repair of all exteriors and re-laying-out of the courtyard.
Phase 4: 2016-2019
Furnishing of a reader's café and the HIKO wing with auditoria.
Phase 5: 2016-2019
Furnishing of library personnel offices and construction of a bicycle shelter.
Does this mean that until 2011 all we can do is sit and dream about what it is going to be like? Not quite! The entire move of 48 km of books and heritage material is being prepared. The move operation itself will take an estimated 5 months of work; the operation has to be finished in 2013. In the meantime a test floor will be constructed (2010-2011). Furthermore, tests will be made for the underground and awning.
And the building team are having hands full of work preparing contracts, building requests and rough drafts...