The bucks stop at Holy Family for library upgrade

With a big as­sist from state Sen. Mike Stack, Sis­ter Francesca On­ley is one happy col­lege pres­id­ent.

Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity and its ten­a­cious pres­id­ent, Sis­ter Francesca On­ley, were count­ing on a $1.3 mil­lion state re­devel­op­ment as­sist­ance cap­it­al grant to make ma­jor struc­tur­al up­grades to the lib­rary.

At the start of the year, as Gov. Tom Corbett was com­ing in­to of­fice, there were ru­mors that such grants were go­ing to be elim­in­ated as the state faced a budget crunch.

State Sen. Mike Stack (D-5th dist.) called Corbett to dis­cuss the is­sue.

“You’re go­ing to be the one to tell Sis­ter Francesca,” Stack said he told the gov­ernor. “He backed right off.”

The law­maker and uni­versity pres­id­ent re­cently joined oth­ers at the lib­rary to get a look at the ini­tial im­prove­ments.

In all, the lib­rary will be­ne­fit from $2.6 mil­lion, which in­cludes match­ing dol­lars from the uni­versity.

Some $600,000 was spent re­pla­cing the lib­rary win­dows. The rest of the money will go to­ward elec­tric­al, light­ing and a costly new heat­ing, vent­il­a­tion and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem.

“This is a won­der­ful pro­ject,” Sis­ter Francesca said dur­ing a Nov. 21 news con­fer­ence.

Dur­ing the news con­fer­ence, stu­dents worked quietly on com­puters and used a not-so-quiet print­er.

Ju­ni­or his­tory and polit­ic­al sci­ence ma­jor Mat­thew Reese de­scribed lib­rar­ies as the found­a­tions of all uni­versit­ies and ex­pressed his thanks for the fund­ing on be­half of all Holy Fam­ily stu­dents.

Steph­en Med­vec, as­so­ci­ate pro­fess­or of polit­ic­al sci­ence, ex­plained that the fac­ulty makes great use of the lib­rary for re­search.

Lib­rar­i­an Lori Schwaben­bauer offered thanks to a group of people usu­ally ex­cluded dur­ing these kinds of check present­a­tions — Pennsylvania tax­pay­ers — and said the work is mak­ing the lib­rary an even more ap­peal­ing place.

“We can take pride in our build­ing,” she said.

The lib­rary was built in 1967, and pro­ject su­per­vising en­gin­eer Pete Tan­tala said struc­tures are usu­ally due for an over­haul with­in 50 years.

The work was done by Holmes­burg-based Eureka Met­al & Glass Ser­vices Inc. Terry Webb, pres­id­ent of the com­pany, ex­plained that in­stallers had to deal with heavy rains in Au­gust.

Schwaben­bauer thanked the Eureka em­ploy­ees for tip­toe­ing around the build­ing, caus­ing as little dis­rup­tion as pos­sible at the three-story, 42,000-square-foot lib­rary. The lib­rary houses more than 140,000 items, in­clud­ing more than 5,000 DVDs and videos, along with uni­versity archives.

“This lib­rary is beau­ti­ful,” Stack said. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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