UCSB’s Davidson Library is expected to undergo a three-story addition and structural upgrades in January 2012.

The first stage of construction will involve a seismic renovation of the existing two-story section of the building in order to uphold safety standards. Davidson’s exterior will also be remodeled and the main entrance of the library will be moved north of the eight-story tower.

The three-story addition will be built on the north side of Davidson, facing Ellison Hall, and connect to the current structure via walkway. Co-Acting University Librarian Sherry DeDecker said the entire $67 million project will be funded by California state lease revenue bonds and will not be supported by student fees.

According to Assistant University Librarian Brian Mathews, the library needs to be modernized and requires various safety enhancements.

“It has been a while since we’ve upgraded the building and in the meantime the world has changed a lot,” Mathews said. “It is our responsibility to renovate and expand the library to create an ideal environment that is inspiring and productive for modern scholars.”

The upgrade will also incorporate more power outlets and wireless service to the building. Staff members are planning to create more distinct zones for different types of study spaces, including quiet and interactive areas.

Mathews said library staff members will spend the next few months seeking student advice about how best to utilize the space.

“We’re interested in understanding what students value for study space,” Mathews said. “We really want to include their participation, along with user studies and assessments.”

Additionally, DeDecker said the current building isn’t spacious or technologically advanced enough.

“Students will benefit from our greatly-increased study spaces and our ability to use the latest technologies to enhance our services,” DeDecker said.

The cost will be divided almost equally between the two projects, although it is slightly more expensive to renovate the existing portion than to build the new addition.

The add-on will yield increased study spaces, including group study rooms, student media center, instructional lab and faculty collaboration studio. The addition will also house the new location of the 24-hour study room and have a climate-controlled space to house the Special Collections exhibit.

Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Campus Architect Marc Fisher said that because Davidson is centrally located, it should represent the university’s overall aesthetic design.

“The library is the symbolic heart of the campus, occupying the most important site,” Fisher said in an e-mail. “It will become a signature building set in an enhanced campus landscape.”

According to Fisher, the new entry — dubbed “The Paseo” — will provide a more direct route to the library, making the redesigned space more navigable than the current library entrance. The first series of changes will begin this summer and relocate current collections and services.

The two-story portion, including the 24-hour study room, will be closed at the end of Fall Quarter. This space will remain shut down for the duration of the projected two-and-a-half-year construction.

Mathews said approximately one-quarter of currently available study space will be closed during construction. Although the project will be a short-term inconvenience, Mathews said it will greatly expand student workspace once completed.

“We’ll add between 500 and 600 new seats to the current capacity of 2,000 seats,” Mathews said. “We’ll be able to reorganize existing spaces in addition to the new building, which will help us become more efficient internally.”

In the meantime, DeDecker said the project management team is searching for alternative locations to compensate for the anticipated loss of space during construction.

“We are working with others on campus to find alternative study spaces while we are under construction,” DeDecker said. “When we have these available, we will publicize them so students know where these areas are.”

The Library Building Committee is currently meeting with the architecture firm Pfeiffer Partners and has almost completed the building design.

The library staff has created a website devoted to information about the upgrade and plans to include updates about construction as the project develops. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/myUCSBlibrary.