Denison University to renovate historic library following gift

GRANVILLE, Ohio — The William Howard Doane Library at Denison University will undergo a $5.7 million renovation.

The renovation is pary of a $7.5 million gift to the university from Sue Douthit O’Donnell, a member of the Denison Class of 1967, and her husband, Bob. It is in support of the Unlocking Potential: Investing in Denison comprehensive campaign, and also provides funding for Denison’s recently added academic program in narrative nonfiction writing. Sue and Bob live in the San Francisco Bay area.

“Libraries, in combination with the classroom, are foundational elements of a college campus,” Denison University President Adam Weinberg said in a news release. “Sue’s magnificent gift to Denison will boost our students’ academic achievements to even greater heights by enhancing their study and research environment in our beautiful and architecturally significant library. This is a transformational gift that will add functionality and aesthetics to the library, augment the study environment for our students, and beautify our campus. We are honored by and grateful for Sue’s generosity.”

The gift will allow Denison to renovate both the 1936 and 1958 sections of the William Howard Doane Library. The original entrance to the library, at the top of the limestone steps, will be reinstated, with a new lobby and reception space. The 1936 building of the library complex, which includes the President’s Room, Gallery, and third-floor reading rooms will be renovated and named Douthit Hall.

Interior work within the 1958 sections will include renovations to the basement, 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors, as well as the government documents section. These renovations will include replacement of HVAC and mechanical systems, roofs and the replacement of windows. A portion of the library renovation will begin this summer and will be completed over the summer of 2019.

The William Howard Doane Library was built in 1936, of Harvard brick laid in Flemish bond with Bedford limestone trim. Details draw from Georgian style though facade mimics that of the south front of the Petit Trianon in the Garden of Versailles. The stacks portion of the library was extended in 1957, and in 1981, the Seeley G. Mudd Learning Resources Center, including an atrium with gallery space, was added to the complex.

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