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CoE library wins acclaim from designers as well as students

Mechanical engineering students Kirk Wing, in the foreground, and Rebecca Slabaugh make the most of the CoE library's new computer stations during the renovation's official unveiling last February. Photo by Vicki Hodder

A recent renovation of the MU College of Engineering library has won a national interior design award, providing a professional stamp of approval to a project already popular with students.

Mizzou interior designer Cyndi Curnutte received a first–place award for her work on the CoE library in a national design competition sponsored annually by the Association of University of Interior Designers, a nonprofit organization that includes members from 49 universities across the nation. Curnutte, of MU’s campus facilities design and construction services, took top honors last October in the AUID category for renovations that cost between $50,000 and $150,000.

Curnutte’s winning design combined library resources that in the past had been separated by repositioning books, improving lighting and adding desktop and laptop computers. Competition judges cited the project’s “custom design elements,” said Elaine Vastardis, of the City University of New York Baruch College’s Interior Design Section and host of this year’s AUID conference.

“We brought print resources, technology resources and people resources together,” Curnutte said.

The redesigned Engineering Library & Technology Commons opened last January on the second floor of Lafferre Hall. Since then, the number of students using the library has increased by more than 150 percent, said Judy Maseles, engineering librarian and head of MU’s science branch libraries.

Students have been quick to take advantage of the opportunity to study together in the library’s new layout, Maseles said.

“I have seen students gather around one work station, with one or two also using laptops in the group,” she said.

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