Ratio Architects to deliver $30m facelift for DePauw University library

SOURCE: Susan Yin/Unsplash
Major renovation works will transform the facility into an advance multimedia hub.

By U2B Staff 

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The DePauw University library is set for major changes with a US$30 million renovation that will transform the facility into a dynamic hub for multimedia, collaboration and technologically-advanced study spaces. 

Slated to begin this March, the mega renovation of the Roy O. West Library is a 21st-century update to the facility, with spaces to be fitted with multimedia and tech facilities, group collaboration workspaces, research resources, social interaction and individual study spaces. 

The project is expected to be completed in August 2021 and is considered a timely project as the Roy O West Library has been a permanent fixture in the institution for over 62 years. 


“This project will reimagine our library as a 21st-century learning environment, with spaces, resources and technologies that better serve all of our students and faculty,” said DePauw University’s interim vice president for academic affairs David Berque in a media statement

 “Even in this digital age, the campus library is the heart of an educational institution, but the way students use it has changed greatly.”

“Books still matter,” added DePauw University Dean of Libraries Rick Provine. 

“But today’s models of scholarship and pedagogy demand that libraries evolve from collections of print media to vibrant multi-media environments. Research remains a key skill that today must be taught using an array of analogue and digital resources.”

University Library
Students will have access to more collaborative work spaces following the renovation. Source: Emre Gencer/Unsplash.

Designed by Ratio Architects, renovation work for the university library will deliver a welcoming and inspiring feel. The 12,000-square-feet of new space will include a reading room with a two-storey atrium and fireplace, expansive views, wall-to-wall books and wood panelling. 

Large windows on the building’s west side will overlook a green and open space that will integrate the library into the campus and downtown Greencastle. 

As academic courses continue to emphasise group work over individual studies, there has been a demand for libraries to accommodate this change and increase the number of collaborative workspaces. 

At DePauw, the newly revamped university library design will include space for the Tenzer Technology Centre, team-based learning and project workspaces, study rooms with built-in technology, modern archival storage and services, and enhanced space for the DePauw archives. Besides new facilities, the library will also be fitted with new lighting and a more efficient heating and cooling system. 

An attached hangout spot for students and alumni, Cafe Roy will be expanded and DePauw’s unusual “treehouse” study pods will remain as they are. 

With renovation work starting in March, the facility will be vacated after semester commencement in May. During renovation, library services will continue in the Prevo Science Library and the Music Library. 

The Roy O. West book collection and the archives collections will be stored. Library staff will offer interlibrary loan services and will ensure all materials needed to support teaching and research will be available. 


Immediately following a record-breaking fundraising campaign, the university is making significant and strategic investments in campus facilities to enhance the student living-learning experience and increase university sustainability in the long run. 

The Roy O. West Library renovation adds to other construction projects such as the delivery of a first-year residence hall in the South Quad which is expected to be completed in August 2020 and work on a second residence hall is about to begin, with completion expected in 2021. Two additional residence halls have also been proposed as part of the first-year housing plan. 

DePauw University also has a few sustainability initiatives in the pipeline. For example, the university recently approved its first solar array, a feature of the Campus Energy Master Plan. It has also completed the Ullem Campus Farm and Centre of Sustainability last May.