FAQ for Rand Hall/Mui Ho Fine Arts Library Project

What are the objectives of the project?

There are four key objectives to the Rand Hall/Mui Ho Fine Arts Library (FAL) project:

  1. Design a state-of-the-art fine arts library with capacity for 120,000 books
  2. Rehabilitate/adaptively reuse Rand Hall
  3. Improve Rand Hall's thermal performance
  4. Reduce a significant deferred maintenance backlog

Who are the primary users of Cornell's fine arts library?

The fine arts collection is the most intensely used of all Cornell's special collections and is regularly accessed by people from many colleges and departments. The top user groups by unit are:

  1. Architecture
  2. History of Art/Visual Studies
  3. Landscape Architecture
  4. Fine Arts
  5. City and Regional Planning
  6. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
  7. Interior Design/Design and Environmental Analysis

What are the project scope and functional program?

The project involves improvements and additions from foundation to parapet, including the restoration of the concrete and brick cladding, complete insulation of the building envelope, fortification of the foundations, addition of a new roof structure, and installation of new mechanical, electrical, and fire suppression systems. The library program occupies the second and third floors of Rand Hall. This program includes the following main components:

  1. Shelving for approximately 120,000 volumes plus space for 20 percent growth (approximately 144,000 volumes total)
  2. Individual office space for the head librarian and the visual resource librarian
  3. Shared space for FAL staff and circulation operations
  4. Two seminar rooms
  5. Public reading space for 20 people
  6. Public computing stations for 10 people
  7. Eighteen individual study carrels, each with lockable book storage

Although not originally part of the project scope, extensive planned maintenance work to Rand Hall's first-floor workshop was added to the project to take advantage of construction synergies and logistical efficiencies. With this additional scope, virtually every part of Rand Hall will be positively affected by this project.

What is the project schedule?

Assuming a favorable bid outcome this summer, Rand Hall will be closed starting with the fall 2017 semester and will reopen for the fall 2019 semester.

What is the project budget and what are the sources of funding?

There are two discrete project budgets: the Mui Ho FAL is budgeted at $17.6 million; the Rand Shop is budgeted at $1.5 million. However, to take advantage of design and construction synergies, the two projects have been combined into one drawing set. This allows for one contractor to bid on the combined scope, avoiding redundancies and maximizing efficiencies. The combined total budget is $19.6 million.

The FAL sources of funding are AAP (10%); Cornell University Library (1%); Infrastructure, Properties, and Planning (31%); Gifts (58% with 53% in hand/pledged). The Rand Hall shop maintenance work is funded by AAP facility funds.

Who are the architects of the Mui Ho FAL?

The design architect is Wolfgang Tschapeller (M.Arch. '87), Vienna. The executive architects are STV (New York City).

What provisions have been made to compensate for the closure of Rand Hall during construction?

A number of temporary facilities are being constructed at AAP to house displaced functions during the four-semester build period. Primary among these are relocated shop facilities, a temporary FAL, and provisional seminar and critique space. Collectively, these projects are termed "enabling projects" and are described in detail on the transition plans page.

What services will be offered by the temporary FAL?

Specifics on the temporary FAL services can be found on the FAL website.

Will access from Milstein Hall to the Rand Hall shop be possible once the new FAL is operational?

Yes. The project is designed to allow access directly to Rand Hall from Milstein Hall even when the library is closed. See the project plans (PDF) for details.

Will the book stacks in the new library be fully accessible and ADA compliant?

Yes, all the stacks are designed to meet ADA standards.

What is planned for the original Rand Hall windows?

Treating the original windows is one of the most challenging aspects of rehabilitating Rand Hall. The 115 existing windows are made of shallow rolled steel sections holding single panes of glass. The frames are cast into the concrete sills, and the window units have very poor thermal performance. Five options were explored, and are described briefly here. After considerable discussion, option #3 is included in the base project, with option #2 as an alternate.

Who should I contact for more information?

For additional information about the project, please contact randconstruction@cornell.edu. Updates will regularly be sent to the AAP community and posted to this site once construction begins.