Regents’ budget includes $26.6 million for UGA Special Collections Libraries building

Athens, Ga. –The budget approved Wednesday by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents includes $26.6 million for the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries building, which will hold some of the UGA library’s most prized documents and materials.

The governor and General Assembly have already approved $1.5 million to finalize design of the $45 million building. The university has raised about $12 million in private contributions toward a goal of $15 million for the building, and $7.5 million has been pledged for endowments to support programs in the new building, all contingent on actual construction.

“We are grateful to the regents, the governor and the General Assembly for providing the funds this year to complete the design of the building, and delighted that the regents have now requested construction funding for the coming year,” said William Gray Potter, university librarian and associate provost. “We are also deeply appreciative to all who have contributed private funds toward construction of the building.”

The regents’ budget goes to the governor and General Assembly and, if approved in the 2009 legislative session, construction on the building could begin later in the year.

UGA President Michael F. Adams said, “Dr. Potter and I have shared a dream of this facility since my arrival in Athens more than 11 years ago. With the University System’s support and the private support of our friends, this dream is on its way to becoming reality. It should greatly enhance research at UGA in important areas.”

The Special Collections Libraries building will hold materials from the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. These collections, which include many rare and irreplaceable items, are now housed in the UGA main library on North Campus.

The new library will be in the developing northwest quadrant of the UGA campus in a triangular tract bounded by South Hull Street, Florida Avenue and Waddell Street. Plans call for a three-level, 110,000-square-foot structure with state-of-the-art environmental controls to protect the priceless materials.

The three libraries each will have their own exhibit areas and reading rooms. The building will include an auditorium, seminar rooms, a large lecture hall and staff areas. Designers included storage space adequate for at least 40 years growth.

For more information on Special Collections at UGA, see http://www.libs.uga.edu/special_collections/index.shtml.