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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

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Ramsey Library’s Media Design Lab will move upstairs and parts of Lipinsky will move in during its renovation

Beginning in Fall 2024, UNC Asheville’s Media Design Lab will move to the second floor of Ramsey Library. Parts of the music department will take its place for the duration of Lipinsky’s renovation. 

UNCA’s Media Design Lab is currently located on the ground floor of Ramsey Library. It is a resource that provides a wide assortment of equipment and software for students to use, as well as assistants there to help when needed. 

Before the fall semester, the Media Design Lab will move up to the second floor of Ramsey Library. Brandy Bourne, university librarian, says she hopes the move will increase visibility and help tie the lab in with other resources the library offers.

“Bringing the Media Design Lab and Craft Studios up to an area where they can better serve the campus community by offering extended hours and by working in concert with Research Services, the Writing Center, the Tutoring Center, and the ITS Help Desk. Those units will form a hub of services in support of student work,” said Bourne. “Often student support needs are complex, with aspects of writing, research, technology, copyright support, etc. This layout will better align those services and make them more accessible.”

David Todd, associate vice chancellor of campus operations, said he also believes the move will make the Media Design Lab a more prominent location in the library, but the way it operates should remain the same.

Another goal this move will accomplish is providing more space for music students to be placed in during the renovation Lipinsky is set to undergo soon. 

The Lipinsky renovation is currently in development. Todd said the team is in the process of selecting a designer. Once the designer is selected, the design itself should take around 18 months to complete. He also said music students will be dispersed throughout campus.

“Sometime between now and when we start construction, we’ll move all of the Lipinsky programs out of Lipinsky. There is a portion of it that will go into the ground floor of the library and then there are other portions of it that will be in different areas across campus and some of those are going to be swing spaces, not necessarily a dedicated space for just music, but music will use that space in part, and then other areas will become dedicated,” said Todd.

While some students may be concerned about noise coming from music students on the bottom floor of the library, Todd emphasized that, with proper soundproofing, he does not foresee it becoming an issue.

Toby King, chair of the music department, believes the music department could even enhance the experience in the library.

“I think we can collaborate with everybody in the spaces we’ll be sharing, particularly the library. Library culture now is so much different than it used to be,” said King. “We have the stereotype of a librarian saying ‘shh, quiet please,’ and really libraries these days are a celebration of knowledge and social participation, and so as long as we have our careful soundproofing, I think we’re going to add a sense of life to a portion of the building.”

King said campus administration has done great in ensuring a broad set of voices on the renovation’s planning team. 

“They took our musical voice very seriously, I was very happy about that. Everybody from all over campus has different ideas about how a project like this should go, and the openness of that dialogue and that discussion was really encouraging to me, just as like a great example of what we can do when we work together,” said King.

While the music students and their equipment will move back into Lipinksy once the renovation is complete, the Media Design Lab is intended to stay permanently in its new home.

“The Media Design Lab move, the intent is for that to be a permanent move to really vitalize and refresh the first floor of the library. At some point in time, the library itself will undergo an extensive renovation, but that’s some years down the road,” said Todd. 

The soundproof booths currently in the Media Design Lab should still be available during the Lipinsky renovation, although it may be more difficult to schedule. 

King said students feeling at home and comfortable in the renovated Lipinsky is very important to him.

“There’s a lot of people who feel really nostalgic thinking about the changes to this building because so many people have made it their home, really settled in and gotten comfortable. The student lounge is an invention of just students needing and wanting that space and making it themselves. People say the recording studio is their second home,” said King. “So we’re very mindful of that, we’re going to try and make the new Lipinsky have as much flexibility as possible so students can continue to make it feel like their home.”

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