Carnegie Hall renovations hope to restore original entrance

The original second floor entrance at Carnegie Library that has tricked generations of freshmen might be reopening in the near future.

Syracuse University is planning a series of renovations to Carnegie for the next couple years, including fixing the heating system, putting in new floors and possibly restructuring the second floor, including reopening the building’s original doors, said Eric Beattie, director of the Office of Campus Planning, Design and Construction, in an e-mail.

Though the university has not set dates for any of these projects, it hopes to start some improvements to the reading room during this academic year, including new floors, new lighting and new paint for the ceiling and walls, Beattie said.

While some of the projects are small, short-term jobs necessary to preserve and maintain the building, some of the plans being considered could take three to four years to complete, Beattie said.

Carnegie was opened in 1907 after the Andrew Carnegie Foundation made a $150,000 donation to the university, according to SU’s website. It was the university’s main library until 1972, when the construction of E.S. Bird Library was complete.

In reopening the building’s original doors, the adjacent classrooms would be removed, and new bathrooms and elevators would be installed in the classrooms’ place. This would also open up the building’s reading room by making it more accessible from the Quad, Beattie said.

Major renovations to the building could move the mathematics department to another building, said Evgeny Poletsky, the chairman of the department.

The university has been discussing moving the mathematics department since Poletsky first came to the university 21 years ago, and Poletsky said he welcomes the idea.

‘We are teaching 4,453 students this semester,’ he said. ‘That’s a huge number. When enrollment grows, the number of faculty and instructors will grow, and we will need more space.’

Because of past events, Poletsky said he is skeptical Carnegie will undergo major renovations and the math department will move. In the late 1990s the math department was supposed to move to Hinds Hall, but the School of Information Studies took that space instead, Poletsky said. 

A lack of space is not the only issue in Carnegie.

Professors who teach in Carnegie said they have noticed problems with the heating and cooling systems in the building.

‘It’s awfully hot when it’s hot outside,’ said Graham Leuschke, an assistant math professor. ‘And it’s awfully cold when it’s cold outside.’


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