The University of Central Florida's oldest academic building is going to stand alongside a very high tech project.
The John C. Hitt Library, named for the man who has been president of the school since 1992, is the most tenured building on campus, completed in 1968, when the school was called Florida Technological University.
The five-story, 226,000-square-foot structure will see most of its collection transferred to a building that will stand next to it and incorporate ARC, or an Automated Retrieval System.
The school calls the technology the first phase of its 21st Century library project.
The ARC will be housed in a four-story building built on the north side of the existing library, in a project that will cost $19.3 million.
To use the ARC, a library patron would request a book from their laptop, smartphone or other device. A crane-like robotic arm would automatically locate the bin the book is stored in, retrieve the bin and bring it to a receiving area behind the circulation desk, where a library staffer would remove the book and give it to the library user.
The building with the ARC will house about 800,000 of the 1.2 million volumes in the library's collection.
The library has always served as a focal point for UCF students, also housing administrative offices and classrooms when it first opened.
The last major renovation to the building occurred in 1984, when UCF had 14,000 to 16,000 students. It now has about 63,000 students.
Moving the majority of the library's collection into the new building will free up additional space in the original library for UCF's larger student body, said spokesman Mark Schlueb.
In addition to construction of the ARC, the first phase of the 21st Century library project includes funding to create a quiet study area on the fifth floor as well as upgrades to stairway handrails, fire sprinklers and other safety systems.
Phase 2, which is not yet funded, would see the addition of an entryway on the north side of the library that would connect it with the structure containing the ARC.
Phase 2 also includes a renovation of the original building to provide more group study rooms, quiet study areas, a separate area for grad students, additional technology and more.
The contractor for Phase 1 is Turner Construction.
The architect is Holzman Moss Bottino.
Work is projected to begin in January.