The Delmar T. Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge shares a motto with certified pilots: "We've earned our wings."
The motto, coined by Susan Curzon, dean of the Oviatt Library, couldn't have been more appropriate as CSUN officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the $16.7-million construction project to rebuild the quake-damaged wings of the campus' signature building.
"The Oviatt Library is both the physical and intellectual heart of the Cal State Northridge campus," CSUN President Blenda Wilson said at the groundbreaking. "To many in our surrounding communities and throughout the country, its majestic wings were a visual symbol of the power of the 1994 earthquake."
Wilson and Curzon were joined by Art Albert, CSUN vice president of administration and finance, and state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) in the ceremonial shoveling of dirt at the Oviatt lawn in front of the library.
Also at the ceremony were representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which allocated $16.1 million for the project, and Morse Diesel International Inc., a New York-based construction firm that won the contract to rebuild the wings.
Representatives of Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), Assemblyman Tom McClintock (R-Northridge) and Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson were also in attendance.
Construction on the west wing began in late June and will soon move to the east wing, said Curzon, adding that the project should be completed by next summer or the fall 1999 semester.
New interior features of the wings include combined periodical and microfilm rooms, a group computer lab, an expanded fine arts section and more group study rooms, she said.
As for the exterior, the wings will have more windows but will have virtually the same design as before the earthquake.
"That was our intent, to have the same look, because the library has become such a visible symbol of the university," Curzon said.