Library Renovation Contributing to UVA Sustainability Initiatives

Before Alderman Library is transformed into a beautiful, safe, more functional building, there is a good deal of demolition that has to take place. But even this preliminary work is being turned to advantage because all the parties involved — the Library, the University, and the contractor, Skanska — realize the importance of sustainability and are making sure as much of the old building as possible will be reused, and as little as possible wasted.

At this point, one of the old library’s most valuable assets is the material it’s providing for other needs within the University and Charlottesville communities. Wooden bookshelves that lined the walls of Alderman’s Old Stacks for decades have found a new home through UVA’s ReUSE Store; and shade trees, cut down to allow workmen access to the building, will find their way into student projects through UVA’s Sustainable Wood Project — a visionary program with the aim of furnishing lumber from trees that would normally be wasted to students for projects in the Architecture school, the Drama school, and Fine Arts.

According to second year graduate Architecture student Andrew Spears, funding provided for the project by a student-supported Green Initiative Funding Tomorrow (GIFT) grant is going to hire a sawyer to saw the logs into planks and to build an 8′ X 14’ solar kiln for drying lumber in a log yard behind Observatory Hill.

Six of the 15 trees cut from around the Library, which in the past would have been put through a woodchipper and turned into small chunks of landscaping filler, have so far been hauled to the log yard by Bartlett Tree Services who, with the aid of a crane, were able to cut the large (56 inches in diameter) tulip poplar on Newcomb Road behind the Library into 12 foot sections ideal for lumber. Trees that once provided a shady outdoor study area on the Library’s north side will now benefit students in another way.

The UVA ReUSE Store is likewise eliminating waste by keeping UVA surplus — office supplies, furniture, electronics, appliances and vehicles — out of landfills and in operation, offering it at no charge to the University for official use, selling it to the public for personal use, or donating it to approved 501c3 non-profit organizations.

Since no one in the University put a claim on the 800 Alderman bookshelves that were listed in the ReUse Store inventory, representatives of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church, who came to the store during hours designated for non-profit organizations, decided they could use the shelves as well as a coat rack that was salvaged from the wall across from the Garnett room on the 3rd floor of Alderman. They submitted the required paperwork via email and after delivery used the UVA surplus to repair existing shelving, and the coat rack for a preschool. According to church spokesman Greg Brown, “we plan to use the rest to build shelving units around three of the four walls in one of our storage rooms.”

UVA Architectural Conservator Mark Kutney standing with his arm on top of the butt end of tulip poplar log

UVA Architectural Conservator Mark Kutney poses next to the butt end of large tulip poplar removed from behind Alderman Library. Lumber from the tree will find a use at UVA through the Sustainable Wood Project. Photo provided by Andrew Spears and used with permission of Mark Kutney

A yellow Bartlett tree services truck, its bed raised to unload logs, adding to other logs already at the Observatory Hill log yard

Bartlett Tree Services delivers to Observatory Hill log yard. Photo provided by Andrew Spears

wooden frame of a solar lumber kiln under construction at the Observatory Hill log yard

Solar lumber kiln under construction in Observatory Hill log yard. Photo provided by Andrew Spears

A wooden strip with hooks for hanging coats, mounted under a bulletin board at an appropriate height for preschoolers at the Aldersgate United Methodist church

Coat rack salvaged from Alderman Library by UVA’s ReUse Store and donated  to Aldersgate United Methodist Church on Rio Road. Photo provided by Greg Brown

wooden bookshelves in 6 stacks about 3 feet high next to each other in a storage area

Some of the 800 wooden shelves from Alderman Library, donated to Aldersgate United Methodist Church on Rio Road. Photo provided by Greg Brown

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