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Ohio State Sullivant Hall’s library set for November grand opening

A building filled with cartoons, dance studios and a new rotunda will soon be reopening on Ohio State’s campus.

The renovation of Sullivant Hall is nearing its final stages as the newly constructed Billy Ireland Cartoon Library prepares for its grand opening. After more than two years of construction, the library portion is set for a grand opening Nov. 14–17.

Even with the grand opening more than two and half months away, Dean of Arts and Humanities Mark Shanda said the public will be able to access the library soon.

“We’re looking at a soft opening of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library sometime in September,” Shanda said.

The Sullivant Hall Renovation project began in Autumn 2011 with a budget of $30 million, $19 million of which was spent on construction. The total project remains on budget, Shanda said.

Jean Schulz, the widow of Peanuts-creator Charles Schulz, said she would match donations up to $2.5 million, according to The Lantern archives. Lawrence and Isabel Barnett also donated $6 million to the project to help with the creation of the Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise.

The newly renovated Sullivant Hall will feature a new rotunda on the east side of the building on the first floor. SullivantHall also will include six new dance studios, the cartoon archive room, which was formerly located in the WexnerCenter for the Arts, and the Barnett Center.

The ability to feature both art and cartoon exhibitions is a prospect that excites Shanda.

“It is a world-class facility and OSU will have one of the largest cartoon collections in the world,” Shanda said.

Classes will be held in Sullivant Hall starting Spring Semester 2014, Shanda said.

Although the library portion is set to open this November, the other sections of the building will not officially open until September 2014 because they won’t be ready yet, Shanda said.

“We wanted to give the other departments time to prepare as each of them needs to prepare their performances or their exhibits,” Shanda said.

The magnitude of the project raised mixed emotions with students on campus.

Second-year in biology Allison Guggenheimer isn’t excited about the renovations. “I think (Ohio State) could have used the money somewhere else. It could have been used on more scholarships for students,” Guggenheimer said, adding that she feels students should have more of a say on how university money is spent.

Hani Alsum, a first-year in health information management, said he believes the renovation is a step forward for the university though.

“I like the renovation. What I see here are old buildings and I think renovating existing buildings costs much less than building a new one,” Alsum said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: Aug. 29, 2013
An earlier version of this story used the female pronoun “she” for Hani Alsum, when in fact, he is a male.

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