Mapped link area Chapman University on left Leatherby Libraries on right
Mapped link area Chapman University Mapped link area Leatherby Libraries


At this web site you will find updates of the construction of the Leatherby Libraries in words and images. There will be a live web cam link, some "fun facts", some FAQs, and a summary each week of the progress of our new library. Please send us your comments and questions.

Charlene Baldwin
Dean of the Library + (714) 997 - 6664

      Week One: June 16 - June 20, 2003
Construction has begun. At the beginning of the week, the building was empty, but still standing. Fences and walls were constructed to isolate the construction zone. The week began with a Demolition Party that became an "Un-Demolition Party" in the truest Lewis Carroll tradition. From the 4th floor Barbara Bush Patio where we all gathered, we could see nothing because demolition was beginning on the Argyros Forum side!

All of that changed over the course of the week, as the gigantic wrecking machines methodically took down the building. And by the end of day on Friday, only the south portion of the first floor walls remained.
Monday's view
Albert Schweitzer's last view
Friday from Beckman Hall

Week Two: June 23 - June 27, 2003

Demolition & Salvage. The gigantic red Penhall Excavators, under skilled operation, carefully and methodically sorted the ductwork metal from its insulation, and the concrete rubble from its re-bar, so that each building material type could be dropped into the appropriate salvage bins.

Penhall Excavator Sorts Building Material
View from Beckman Hall

Week Three: June 30 - July 3, 2003
Site Preparation. This week the site was cleared of any remaining materials that comprised the Thurmond Clarke Memorial Library. Ground has been leveled, the concrete walls of the basement removed, and some excavation has begun.
View from Argyros
View from the ground
View from Beckman
Weeks Four through Eight: July 7 - August 8, 2003
Excavation. Throughout this period, the site has been prepared for construction. Then the excavation began. First, all of the former basement structure was removed. Now, the footprint for the basement floor of the Leatherby Libraries is taking shape. Concurrently with this is the excavation of the basement of the Music Building extension, Oliphant Hall. It is part of the same construction zone.
Assisting Chapman's Construction Management Department with all the details associated with a project of this magnitude is Abacus Consulting. Kurt Reidl is our Abacus representative. He has been with Chapman from the initiation of the project, even coordinating the move, both of offices and library materials, to the Interim Library in the Law School. Here he is in his current office space in Wilkinson Hall.
Kurt Reidl in Wilkinson Hall
Weeks Nine through Twelve: August 11 - September 5, 2003
The basement footprint has been excavated, the walls framed and poured, and the slab readied to be poured early next week. Steel is scheduled to arrive in October. The building will then begin to take shape.
Weeks Thirteen through Twenty: September 8 - October 31, 2003
The 260-foot tall crane arrived in October. It brings in the steel, and delivers it to the ironworkers who build the frame of the building. The crane has a red light on its very top, and has become a landmark of Chapman University's progress for neighbors in the City of Orange. By the end of October, the perimeter framing of the first floor of the library began to take shape.

Crane moving an I - beam into place
View from Beckman Hall

Concurrently with this work, the students of Chapman University's art department began a class in mural design. Under the direction of Adjunct Professor Alvin Gregorio, 15 students developed a design for murals on the east and west sides of the library construction site. Here is a photo of the fence before mural construction.
Albert Schweitzer's view
Before mural construction
Weeks Twenty - One through Twenty - Four: November 3 - 28, 2003
The structural steel framing moved to the upper floors during November.
Mechanical units were installed in the basement.
The framing for the concrete flooring was put in place for each floor in turn.
Framing the concrete flooring
A Library brick wall mockup has been prepared to establish the benchmark for the quality of the façade.

The east side mural has been completed. The mural is entitled "Beyond Awake".

In the words of the student designers, "this mural is a symbolic representation of the transformation we are all making here in college at Chapman University. From the uncertainty at the beginning of our education to the metamorphosis of growth, change, and knowledge, the journey is never easy. At the beginning, it can feel like hell, which is represented on the periphery of the mural. Moving inward and on with the journey, the darkness is replaced by trees, which are symbols of life, growth and wisdom. The destination, the center, is a garden of bright flowers and the light emanating from a deity-like form, surrounded by an aura of illuminated color.
Mural from Schweitzer's view
"The central theme tying the whole mural together are the caterpillars, cocoons, and butterflies. Each one represents one of us, and we have all created them on our own and combined them together, much like the conglomeration of individuals we have all formed in this class. Not all of them turn into butterflies, some are different characters which have various personal meanings. They all are on the road from the "hell land" to transform along the way in the trees and reach the goal at the end.
Mural themes
Top view of mural
" However what complicates the ending is that the light and energy attracting the various creatures is coming from a bug zapper. Other obstacles are the men in suits wearing gas masks. They have bug catching nets and are after the creatures. Fire, craters, clouds of smoke, and monsters also stand in the way of reaching the center.
Gas mask I
Gas mask II
"When the creatures reach the end, the bug zapper, their fate is unknown. Will they move on to the post-college life and be successful, or will they be unable to overcome the final hurdle? Every ending is a new beginning."
The bug zapper
Welcome to my nightmare
The students have now turned their attention to the west side murals. It is an ambitious artistic project that they hope to complete by the end of the semester.
Week Twenty - Five: December 1 - 5, 2003
The installation of the steel is just about finished. The Rotunda has been delivered. It arrived in pieces, and was formed on site.
Forming the Rotunda
The Rotunda will be the architectural feature of the building. On the first floor, the Rotunda will house an after-hours study commons with coffee bar and vending area. There will also be a photocopy room, restrooms, and two group study rooms. The Rotunda will open onto the outdoor cyber courtyard and sculpture garden that will feature wireless and wired data connections, benches, and tables and chairs in a garden setting. The second and third floors of the Rotunda will be beautiful, open reading and study areas with lots of natural lighting through the mostly glass walls and skylight from the canopy rooftop.

The First Floor concrete slab was poured this week. Another "deck", or floor, will be poured about every two weeks.
The First Floor will feature major library service centers: the reference and research service desk and reference collection, the current periodicals and newspapers collection and reading area, the electronic information commons, a computer alcove, a reference consultation room, the circulation and reserves counter, the Interlibrary Loan offices, the library service center for University College, and the donor alcove to thank all the people who have made this building possible with their generous gifts. Floor One also houses the librarians and library staff who order, process, catalog, preserve, and make available the library's books and other materials.
FAQs & Summaries
  • Where did everything go? Most of the furnishings were diverted to other uses at Chapman University. All that remained in the building before demolition was some of the older book shelving. That shelving, the aluminum ducting throughout the building, and the aluminum shed on the roof were carefully isolated and recycled. The rubble will be ground up for roadwork in the southland.

  • What are they doing with the wooden walls around the site? Professor Richard Turner, Co-director of the Guggenheim Galley and Co-chair of the Art Department, will be using those walls for his fall semester class on murals. Watch for some pretty interesting and colorful results.

  • What are those I-beams doing sticking out of the ground? Those were drilled and placed to shore up the "driveways" for the semi trucks and other large heavy equipment that will take out rubble and bring in materials for the new building.

  • How long will the construction take? Matt Construction says 66 weeks. That comes up to be around mid-September of 2004.
  • What are the white wood panels around the perimeter of the construction site? Students in the Art Department will soon be painting murals on those panels. This is an example of Chapman University's commitment to development a relevant curriculum by taking advantage of this opportunity.

  • What will go in the basement? The basement will house the 60-station open computer lab, six computer classrooms, a computer service desk, the call center, and offices for Information Systems and Technology. In addition, the basement will house the major equipment that service the building such as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Send us your questions and comments.