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The floor of Van Pelt Library has been updated with new carpets.

Credit: Yoon Chang

This summer, Van Pelt Library’s basement was revamped to replace its malfunctioning electrical system and aging furniture. 

The renovated basement, which suffered from several broken electrical outlets, now has a rewired electrical system and fully functioning outlets. Undergraduate Assembly representative and College junior Chase Serota said that the walls have been repainted, the floor has been updated with new carpets, and the lounge area has new soft furniture.

The renovations began during the first week of August and were completed by the end of the month, Director of Strategic Communications for Penn Libraries Mary Ellen Burd wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Burd said the renovations were funded by money that is reserved annually by Penn Libraries for facility renewal.

The plans for renovations, which were announced in March, came to fruition after Serota and College junior and UA associate member Jesse Fox approached Sal Caputo, Director of Facilities Management for Van Pelt, with concerns about broken electrical outlets. 

After considering the costs of replacing the outlets and the deteriorated state of the basement, Caputo and Serota said they decided to renovate much of the basement’s aging amenities. 

In March, Caputo said the renovations would start the day after Commencement in late May. At the time, Caputo said, the basement would be closed until a week or two before the start of the fall semester. Instead of the renovations beginning on May 21, the project kicked off the first week of August. 

Serota said that the UA is in discussions with the library about potential options for a second phase of renovations. These renovations would likely involve replacing hard furniture, including desks and chairs.

"The full scope of work planned also includes new energy efficient ceiling lighting, which will be installed in the near future," Burd.

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