The Lansdowne Portrait of George Washington has come home!

For many years the portrait has been on loan to a museum in Alabama.  As of today, it has been returned and rehung in Leyburn Library.  The niche over the main staircase has stood empty all this time, people often asked “what goes there?”  Now they’ll know!

Here are some photos documenting the return of the portrait to Leyburn Library:

Don't touch, don't touch! Careful, careful!

Watch the door frame!

It took a lot of strong, careful Facilities workers to ensure a safe transit across campus, from Watson Pavilion to Leyburn Libray

All together now, across the bridge!

Up to the front doors...

Turn it, watch the door frame, careful, careful!

And George has returned to Leyburn Library!

Up and over and onto the scaffolding

And in seconds George was back where he belonged!

The arrival attracted a large summer crowd


For more details, watch for FOLios and Library Letters in early September.

Northen is open again!

It didn’t look like it last week, but after working all weekend, the new carpet is in, the walls are painted, and the coffee station is built.   The Alumni Board used it over the weekend.


 This gives you a look at the new stage area and the light carpet – no more Christmas plaid! And the new lights, all on dimmers.

  Ta Da!!

The view of the stage area with the screen in the middle.


The view from the stage.


To see it for real, drop on by!

Northen Auditorium is ALMOST Renovated

The new deadline is October 19, just a few days away.  Since there is a meeting scheduled in there for Friday, that’s good!  The photos below are from earlier this week.  Since these were taken the room has been painted and more of the light brown paneling has been installed.  Cross your fingers!!

The back of Northen earlier this week


The new ceiling


The new stage area; the screen is still there.


And work is still going on outside, to the side of the ramp.  New brick and stonework have been added.  Their deadline is January 1, though!

This gives a good look at the stone and brick work that has been added.

“If you build it, they will come”

Or, in the case of Leyburn Library, if you improve it, they will come.  Leyburn has seen more students studying earlier in the year than ever before in recent memory.  From the first day of classes, students have been flocking to all floors of Leyburn, but of course the new-and-improved Main floor is the most popular.  Here are some photos taken over lunch time – the slowest part of the day.

Hard at work

All types of furniture are in use

Not just the women are studying

The cafe tables are busy too

And work continues inside Northen Auditorium.  They’ve painted the floating ceiling black and built a couple small walls and put up a few pieces of dry wall.

It's still a MESS!

The workmen assure us it will be finished by Oct. 15 but it sure doesn’t look like it!
Outside, the wall that runs next to the ramp is being covered with stone and brick.  It will look very nice once the scaffolding is gone.

And the beat goes on…and on…and on

Classes are in full swing and so is the hammering!  Outside Leyburn the work continues on the mechanical room below the bridge and running the length of the ramp/walkway.  On the Reid Hall side of the bridge, workers are adding the facing to the lower wall; this entails chipping away at every rock that is placed so it fits right.

Chipping away to face the wall below the Plaza


A new staircase has been built from the Plaza to the Northen courtyard below.

A new staircase from the Plaza to the courtyard below


Meanwhile, inside, Northen is still a mess, but the workmen promise it will be wonderful when it’s done.  This week they are creating a “floating ceiling”.

Northen's "floating ceiling"

They Did It!

The plan was to have the Leyburn bridge and Stemmons Plaza reopened in time for the new students to arrive on Sept. 4, and they did it.  The entrance to Leyburn is now WIDE OPEN and the annual Academic Fair was held on the Plaza Monday afternoon, Sept. 6.

Wide Open Spaces now mark the revised bridge


New plants and benches enhance the atmosphere


Apparently the decision on the style of bench has not been made because right now there are two different styles out there: Trex vs. wood.

New seating areas have been added as part of the roof of the building below


Construction continues on the mechanical room being created below the bridge.

The Plaza planters full of liriope were replaced with planters full of sod.

It truly is wide open!  Payne Hall has been blocked off for its renovation and all the big trucks are gone, at least for now.  Some of the red brick (where the bridge meets the Plaza) has been replaced temporarily (we hope) with red cement.

Northen continues under destruction; you can’t see much difference from the last blog entry but there are lots of conversations going on.  It looks like they are getting ready to hang dry wall.  More on Northen next time.

Almost DONE!

There is no news of interest related to the refurbishing of Northen.  They took out the ceiling and have generally made a mess of the room.  Fortunately, they also clean up their messes every day.

Right now, Northen is a disaster!


More exciting news outside:  this week the pavers went in to form the surface of the renovated bridge. 

Installing the new bridge pavers


In addition to the new surface, the plaza will have new terraces with greenery and seating on top of the mechanical building under the bridge.

The new terraces to the left of the bridge


All in all, the new openness of the entrance to Leyburn Library is wonderful!

TA DA!!! They’re getting close.


Whether the whole plaza area will be completed by next Friday, 9/3, is still a guess.  It looks like they might make it.

What a difference a week makes!

It’s been hot and rainy.  Stemmons Plaza is now a quagmire but work continues.  About ten days ago they did a “flood test” on the bridge where they used a hose to flood it with standing water…if they’d waited a day they could have saved themselves the effort; it’s been raining ever since!

Man-made flood test

Fortunately there were no leaks into Northen below the bridge.  And it would have been VERY easy to notice a pool of water down there because there’s nothing else in there!

Just a few supervisors and even fewer workmen in Northen these days

It looks like some sort of roof is being put onto the “green” areas of the new construction, but it may be just a cover to keep the workmen dry during our daily late-afternoon thunderstorms.

View down the ramp, looking toward the bridge

Right now the bridge is being used for storage.  The work on the bridge is supposed to be completed by Sept. 4.  Should we start a pool – no pun intended – on the actual completion date??

View from the Plaza to the front of Leyburn Library

And the work goes on….

Seems some of the work got a bit behind schedule so lights were brought in to allow work to continue

Lights were brought in so work could continue at night


And work they did!  Look how much progress has been made since the last posting.

Looking left of the bridge, from the Plaza


View to the right of the bridge, from the Plaza


Speaking of the Plaza…it is full of stacks of lumber, stacks of rebar, tons of machinery, and a lot less liriope.

Will the planters come back???


The weatherproofing appears to be about complete on the bridge.  The Library Staff is curious to see what comes next and what type “bricks” will be provided.

The weatherproofing is almost done


While all this has been going on OUTSIDE, Monday the crew started “refurbishing” Northen.  “Refurbishing” refers to primarily cosmetic changes – paint, carpet, furnishings, etc.  “Renovation” involves structural changes.  Just as a reminder, here is Northen as they were getting started.

Northen BEFORE, remember the plaid carpet?


And here is what it looked like yesterday (Tuesday, 8/3)

Northen AFTER the carpet and furniture were removed

Northen is scheduled to be closed until mid-October.  It should be well on its way by the time classes start.

“They Built It Really Strong Back Then” (in the 70s)

A quote from one of the construction workers.  Seems they’re having problems getting through the concrete layers on the bridge leading to Leyburn.  They tried “everything, from sledge hammers to diamond saws”.  Finally they brought in the BobCat and it literally chews up the surface, one tire-width at a time.  We’re waiting for something or someone to  come crashing into Northen!

The view from Leyburn's front doors; half the surface is naked, with just that black plastic protecting Northen from the summer thunderstorms.

The Bobcat chewing up the surface of the bridge.

The surface after the bobcat does its chewing thing

I THINK I have figured something out.  It looks like the mechanical building underneath is going to rise to meet the Plaza level.  This will then extend the space and allow for more seating and a wider Plaza…at least that’s what it looks like.  What do you think?

The view from the top of the ramp, looking down.

The view of the construction under the bridge, between Leyburn and the Science Center.

That plastic on the right in the photo is the Plaza level.