The 59-year-old Middleton Library that sits in the middle of The Quad at LSU would be demolished under plans presented Friday to the LSU Board of Supervisors.
The board got a sneak peek at the comprehensive plan to redesign the Baton Rouge campus over the next few decades.
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Among the high points is the removal of the modern-styled building that was opened in September 1958 in the middle of the Italianate buildings that were constructed in the 1920s.
About 2 million square feet would be replaced with the removal of several building on campus and the construction of others. Lockett Hall, which was built in the 1970s and is home for many math classes, is another slated to be torn down if the Board approves the final Master Plan, which will be presented, along with a timeline and budget over the summer.
“Removal of Middleton and Lockett, that’s spectacular,” Board member J. Stephen Perry said. “This is like a dream.”
Lockett, which is near the Indian Mounds, would become a green space, part of a park that would connect the newly emerging southern part of the campus with the traditional center of LSU Baton Rouge. The space left empty by the removal of the library would revert to its historical use as a courtyard park in The Quad.
“Nobody ever puts a modern building, a massive building in your main quadrangle, breaking up the foundation of your campus. We should have never done that,” LSU President F. King Alexander said.
Troy H. Middleton Memorial Library, named for a former LSU president, was built to replace Hill Memorial Library, which could only seat 375 students. At the time it was built Middleton could seat 5,000 students, was air conditioned and had more than 22 miles shelving that could accommodate a million books.
Work on the Comprehensive & Strategic Campus Master Plan began in January 2016. Its chief overseer is hoping to get feedback while working on the final version. Changes could be made on the proposal, said Roger Husser, assistant vice president of planning, design and construction for LSU.
He’s hoping to receive public comment. He’s also working on setting priorities and developing financing to cover the projects over the next decade.
Removing Middleton has been discussed for a long time, he said. But the Master Plan is chiefly designed to reorient the campus to where the bulk of the students have shifted because of the growth of energy, engineering and business curricula.
The strategy also is aimed at creating more pedestrian friendly green space and upgrades the communities near campus entrances.
Before Middleton Library can be demolished, a new library would have to be built. Initial plans call for the new library to be built southeast of Tiger Stadium. The new library and learning center would be on a new quad around which new classroom and research buildings would be erected, he said.