A study in 2009 of Mullins Library, at the University of Arkansas, revealed the need to renovate the existing space to better accommodate the needs of a 21st century library for thirty thousand students. In order to accommodate the space requirements for a library of this caliber, nearly two million volumes of materials would need to be relocated to a new high-density library storage building. The first step in the process was to select a site near the University of Arkansas Campus. This entailed studying multiple configurations and locations just south of the Campus.
The 28,000 S.F., fifty-foot-tall library storage facility was originally planned as a concrete block box with a concrete roof deck to provide a hardened box to protect the irreplaceable materials which would be housed within the new facility. During the design process, the architects studied the possibility of replacing the steel and concrete structure with a mass timber frame and cross laminated timber (CLT) wall system. The design team had utilized glue laminated timbers for many years on projects, however the use of CLT had never been used in middle America. After careful study and consideration, the structural system was changed saving the taxpayers $1.1M. This is the first CLT project in Arkansas and middle America. The facility is expected to be complete in the summer of 2018. The LSB will be clad in charred wood siding, architectural metal panels, and stone held in place by gabion baskets. The project is pursuing LEED silver certification.