PITTSBURG — Renovations are in progress on two buildings this summer at Pittsburg State University — McPherson Hall, home to the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, and Leonard H. Axe Library.

When completed, upwards of $1 million worth of work will have been done in the current phase of upgrades to the library.

The majority of that — $926,000 — is coming from state rehabilitation and repair funds, while interior improvements including new furnishings and technology are being paid for through private donations.

PSU has previously invested almost $3 million in multiple phases to renovate Axe Library in recent years. This summer work is focusing on nearly 20,000 square feet of the library’s first floor.

“They’re doing everything, ceiling to floor, taking out a lot of walls, putting in a lot of new walls and different things, really trying to change the flow and the dynamic of the space,” said Randy Roberts, dean of Library Services at Axe Library.

Among other changes, a new east entrance will be opened at the library, while the existing west entrance will remain accessible when the work is completed and the library reopens, which likely happen in October and coincide with the 40-year anniversary of the building’s original opening.

So far there have been between about 5 and 20 workers from Crossland Construction and its subcontractors working on the library renovation project at any given time, Roberts said.

“They’ve set a very aggressive pace and schedule,” he said. “They’re really working hard to get us in as early into the fall semester as they possibly can.”

The remodel involves everything from plumbing to electrical to flooring and installing new amenities at the library and at McPherson Hall.

“I think one of the things that we’re trying to do in this phase is to create a better climate, a better space, an opportunity for students and the other departments on campus to do tutoring in this space, which we’ve done some but not that much of,” Roberts said. “We’re going to have different service points in terms of the kinds of things we do and the ability to work with them one-on-one in terms of reference counseling and consultation on research projects and things.”

Work is also ongoing at McPherson Hall. Improvements including those being made to the building’s lecture hall are expected to be completed by August, with an unveiling scheduled for early in the fall.

“Everything is going to be brought up to current code, so there’s a lot of pulling out the old and putting in the new,” said project superintendent Matt Foster of Crossland Construction.

Cheryl Giefer, director of the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing, said improvements to the lecture hall include updated audio-visual and lighting features, as well as desks that will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which had not been passed when the building was originally built in 1977.

“The highlight of the project is Anatomage, a virtual dissection table, which will be used for interdisciplinary learning,” a university press release notes.

Jonathan Riley is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at jriley@morningsun.net