On Tuesday, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVa-Wise) opened its new state-of-the-art library. The 66,000-square-foot, six-story building replaces a much-smaller two-story library that wasn’t able to meet the needs of the school’s significant growth. During the grand opening ceremony, UVa-Wise Chancellor, Donna Henry, noted that the library hailed “the beginning of a new era at the college.”

UVa-Wise Library

UVa-Wise Library

Located on the side of a 60-foot hill, the library creates a much-needed, direct vertical pathway between campus levels. And interestingly, because of the severe grade in elevation that separates the college’s upper and lower campuses, four of the new facility’s six floors have ground level access — a rare feature for any building.

As part of the grand opening event, student and faculty volunteers formed a “book brigade” to move thousands of books into the new space. At full capacity, the library will hold more than 250,000 books. A key part of the college’s residential life program, the library also houses 24-hour study spaces, in addition to classrooms, media labs, and a “Books and Brew” coffee shop.