Foundation raises $3 million for latest library renovation phase

As fundraising to renovate MNL continues, these funds covered work on the library’s second and third floors

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation recently announced the successful conclusion of a multi-year, $3 million fundraising campaign to complete renovations of the second floor of UMKC’s Miller Nichols Library and a portion of the library’s third floor for the new LaBudde Special Collections and University Archives space.

Bonnie Postlethwaite, dean of libraries, said the second floor renovations that began a year ago and were completed last summer, included new HVAC units for the floor, updated office spaces, a “browse-able” book stack area and new carpet, ceiling, lighting and paint.

Funds raised for the project included a $1 million gift from the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation; $250,000 from the Miller and Jeannette Nichols Foundation; $300,000 from the Courtney S. Turner Trust; and a portion of a $1 million gift from the Sunderland Family Foundation.

“The library is arguably the heart and soul of any university,” said Steven P. Norris, president of the UMKC Foundation. “The generosity of these and other donors will help make the Miller Nichols Library a strong and functioning part of UMKC for many years to come.”

The Miller Nichols Library has been undergoing incremental renovations over several years, including the addition in 2013 of the Miller Nichols Learning Center, a new classroom space addition to the library.

The new second floor space includes all the book stacks that are available for open browsing. Those books – the ones not accessible through the library’s robotic storage unit – had been spread across different floors.

Postlethwaite said the consolidation of these open browsing stacks offers a big improvement to students. “This will offer greater ease in finding materials that are in the open shelves,” she said.

The renovated second floor also includes comfortable, quiet study space that is popular and well used by students. The renovation made space available on the second floor for UMKC’s new Emeritus College.

Postlethwaite added that the second floor improvements also clear the way for other important renovations that lie ahead, including moving special collections to the third floor.

“In the context of renovating the whole building, the second floor renovation enabled us to open up the third and fourth floors for innovative student use and special collections,” she said.

The renovation on the third floor that will create expanded, new facilities for special collections and university archives will begin this month and open for use in September.

About half of the original Miller Nichols Library building remains on the renovation to-do list. Postlethwaite said an estimated $8.5 million still must be raised for that work.

“We are excited about what has already been accomplished through the generosity of many supporters,” Postlethwaite said. “We’re looking forward to the ongoing effort to complete this exciting project for UMKC.”

The UMKC Foundation, launched in 2009, is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves as the official fundraising and fund management organization for UMKC.


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