UCF’s oldest academic building opened for the fall semester Monday with a “facelift.”

Knowledge Commons, the newly redesigned main floor of the Library, brings learning, technology, research and academic support together in a way that meets student demands and appeals to different types of students.  

The new area features workstations with large, flat-screen monitors and study rooms with computers and white boards. In addition to its 196 computers and seating for 479, Knowledge Commons provides more electrical outlets where students can plug in their laptops.

A new reference desk — dubbed the Research and Information Desk — allows students to more easily access library resources. The desk can be seen from the building’s entrance, and librarians are available at the desk each day for walk-in and scheduled research assistance appointments.

“Our goal was to create a dynamic and exciting atmosphere that blends technology, print and electronic resources and easy access to assistance for research and instruction in an intellectual center where a wide range of scholarly and social activities take place,” said Barry Baker, director of UCF Libraries.

The new space is “meant to be flexible enough so that students can use it as they see fit, for whatever project they might be working on,” added Frank Allen, the Library’s associate director of administrative services.

Knowledge Commons also features more natural light, brightly painted walls, fresh carpeting and comfortable new furniture.

The Library, which was built in 1968, was the first academic building at UCF, then known as Florida Technological University. The Library’s five floors housed all of the university’s original classrooms and offices.

In 1984, the Library was expanded to double its size, and in 2006 a small part of the second floor was converted into a popular coffee shop and computer lounge.

The new space is the result of several years of feedback from the UCF community. Library staff consulted with students and faculty members about how the facility could best meet their academic needs and worked with a team of architects, designers and construction workers to create the new learning environment.

Revenues from the student technology fee a UCF Foundation annual campaign helped to fund the new space. The redesign of the second floor began in May and continued through the summer semester.

The Library’s Web site was updated with news and pictures of the construction throughout the summer.