Surprise! Library Plaza’s about to be demolished

Photo by Azam Lalani | The Signal

Library Plaza is slated to be demolished sometime in February or March alongside Kell Hall, according to Vice President for Facilities Ramesh Vakamudi.

“It could be February/March 2019 before we start Kell Hall/Library Plaza demolition,” Vakamudi said.

The demolition comes months after a “Library Masterplan” was announced in January that laid the groundwork for renovating Library North and eventually Library Plaza.

Students currently use the plaza as a place to gather, smoke and table for their various student organizations. Job recruiters for the U.S. Marines and Chick-fil-A also find a place there.

Students will be affected as early as February as Library Plaza tabling moves to Unity Plaza

“We have to stop taking reservations in February,” Student Center Senior Director Boyd Beckwith said.

Spotlight Executive Director William Holley said his organization is working to develop solutions for the lack of tabling options and temporary removal of the plaza.

“Library Plaza was a melting pot of organization engagement and outreach. In an effort to tackle the challenge, sooner rather than later, we are currently brainstorming plans to use student center locations for organization tabling. We have a few ideas that may require approval from Student Center higherups. Therefore, I will not elaborate any further without confirmation,” he said.

A Student Government Association representative said that SGA is working to ensure the student body is kept in mind during the demolition process.

“We are coming up with a plan because this is not just going to affect Atlanta students. This is going to affect everybody, especially those who are coming from Perimeter to the Atlanta campus,” the representative said.

The representative also said they aren’t working alone in their planning but with other organizations on campus as well.

“We are working in collaboration with several umbrella organizations like RHA. We’re working with [the Student Alumni Association] and Spotlight to try and find an adequate solution,” they said. “We want to make sure there’s a plan.

The university is unsure how long the project could take exactly.

“Tentatively it could take 6 to 7 months but [that] will have to be confirmed by the contractor,” Vakamudi said.

However, the university has yet to select a contractor, according to Vakamudi.

The cost of the project is estimated to be $7.7 million for Kell Hall and Library Plaza’s demolition and the subsequent greenway construction.

He also said that one of the biggest concerns is student safety during the project.

“Safety of pedestrian traffic through area [is one of our concerns] but [that] will be addressed through the installation of construction fencing and barricades similar to recently Courtland Street bridge replacement project,” he said.

Many students seem to be unaware of the plaza’s slated demolition. The university has yet to issue an official statement to the student body, and most students The Signal approached for comment indicated they were unfamiliar with the plans.