By Poly Pantelides
CONSTRUCTION works are in full swing for the new state-of-the-art University of Cyprus (UCY) library, although the University of Cyprus’ rector has warned the government that failing to support the project could entail a waste of the millions already invested.
The Stelios Ioannou Information Centre-Library will house a collection in an imposing dome-shaped building holding collection, hosting up to 1.0 million books, 30,000 e-magazines, and 150 databases. Its contents will be accessible to all Cypriots, and is designed to serve a student population of 10,000.
The project which includes an information centre, technical support for teaching and a language centre, was designed by the internationally acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel.
It is being constructed north east of the Aglandjia campus and will cover over 15,000 square metres of land.
The project was undertaken by construction company J&P and J&P Avax Joint Ventures-Stelios Ioannou Library at a cost of €27.7 million.
Stelios Ioannou’s widow, Elli, has donated a significant €8.0 million to the project in memory of her husband.
The University’s rector Constantinos Christofides urged the state to include the project in its 2014 budget, to ensure the works were completed. Over €8million has already been spent towards the project. “I hope the state will take action so that the Library is included in the 2014 budget so that [construction] carries on,” Christofides said. Failing to complete the project, would be wasting the money already spent, while housing resources under one roof would help save expenses from renting out other buildings, Christofides said.
The foundations are now in place, and a team of 70 people are now working to install necessary infrastructure and to cast the floor slab for the third floor, a UCY progress report said. As works progress, employment of additional specialised staff “should increase significantly,” the report said.
So far, the contractor has been paid €8,279,000 plus VAT, with about €6.6 million already gone towards construction. As of August this year, the project was completed to about 22 per cent.
Former president Demetris Christofias laid the foundation stone for the library in February. Money permitting, the library is set to open its doors in September 2014 and will be the island’s first library to be built on such a scale.