New Library Nears Unveiling

The Stevenson community awaits the grand opening of the Philip A. Zaffere Library after months of anticipation
Philip A. Zaffere Front Entrance
Philip A. Zaffere Front Entrance
Ava Treakle

As a communication professor in her 17th year at Stevenson University, Dr. Leanne Bell-McManus looks at the empty courtyard as she sits at the desk in her new and spacious office, longing for the day the commotion and energy of Stevenson students fill the empty Philip A. Zaffere Library.    

“I’m excited for students to come,” Dr. Bell-McManus said. “It will make it feel more like the hustle-bustle of a college campus, and right now, it’s very quiet.” 

Much like Dr. Bell-McManus, the rest of the Stevenson community patiently awaits the grand opening of Owings Mills North campus’ newest addition.  

The year 2023 was fruitful for Stevenson University. They celebrated their 75th anniversary, unveiled the athletics-centered East Campus, set plans into motion for The Berman Family Performing Arts Center, and set the initial opening date for the Philip A. Zaffere Library.

Despite the library’s 18-month construction plan that started with the groundbreaking in Spring 2021, which would have completed the building in the Summer of 2023, the doors remain closed to students. 

Currently, the newest addition to North Campus functions as nothing more than a strip office building for staff and faculty while construction continues and finishing touches are added. 

“It’s unfortunately just the nature of the beast,” said Assistant Vice President of Facilities & Campus Safety Jim Mustard. “Because of supply chain issues and vendor-driven issues, I don’t have an opening date.” 

Until the library is fully opened, students can access the building for meetings with their professors and instructors Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Serving as a designated place for research, studying, collaboration, and learning, the library will be equipped with everything a student could ever need.

At the multifaceted building you’ll find faculty and staff offices, the Zirkin Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning, a multi-purpose event space, an outdoor amphitheater, a courtyard with seating, readily available librarians, a computer area dedicated to Chip Rouse, a designated quiet area, humidity-controlled rooms for archive display and storage, and the main library that holds countless bookshelves and spaces for both individual and group study. 

“I think the library aligns perfectly with [Stevenson’s] mission and vision,” Mustard said. “We are a student-centered, focused academic learning institution, and to have a library of this caliber, I’d put us up against any institution in the mid-Atlantic, and we’d beat them. I think we’re that far advanced.” 

Mustard emphasized the building’s use of natural and LED lighting. Not only is this package visually stunning, but it supports Stevenson’s green initiatives for energy efficiency.  

The staff is working around the clock to complete the library. The Stevenson community should anticipate a full opening of the Philip A. Zaffere Library around the middle of the Spring 2024 semester. 

“After receiving a tour through the ambassador program, there’s a lot to look forward to,” said Shannon O’Hara, senior Ambassador Communications Coordinator. “Once the library is fully open, I plan to spend the majority of my time there utilizing all of the new features.”

Parking will be available at the existing North Campus lot, with limited extra parking directly outside the library. There are no plans to expand existing parking on the North Campus.

The new library will absorb the libraries on the Greenspring and Owings Mills campuses, and those rooms will be repurposed. Those plans have yet to be publicized. 

Philip A. Zaffere Library Hours

Monday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Tuesday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Wednesday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Thursday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.

“We’re really excited. This is a great opportunity for Stevenson University,” Mustard said. “This campus is growing and continues to grow. It’s an excellent time to be a student and an excellent time to be a staff and faculty member.”

[All photos from Ava Treakle

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About the Contributors
Caleigh Bernota
Caleigh Bernota, Reporter
Caleigh is a senior business communication major with a minor in fashion merchandising. She is from Frederick, Maryland, and is a member of Stevenson's beach volleyball team. Outside of the Stevenson community, she is employed part-time as the communications specialist at PPR Strategies, an economic development and tourism agency. Her favorite food is guacamole!
Ava Treakle
Ava Treakle, Sports Editor
Ava is a sophomore business administration major on a sports management track with a minor in photography. She is from Fredericksburg, Virginia and is a member of the Stevenson women's lacrosse and track teams. In the future Ava wants to become a sports journalist and photographer. She currently works as the Villager's sports editor.
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