University of North Dakota – Chester Fritz Library

  • area / size 145,000 sqft
  • Completed 2021
  • Stantec completed the expansive Chester Fritz Library for the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

    The University of North Dakota Chester Fritz Library, built in 1961, remained a traditional library, with large areas dedicated to a print collection, but limited space for what students seek – academic support, technology services, collaboration, and quiet study. The result: a space difficult to navigate, uninviting and underutilized.

    Stantec was selected to develop a library master plan and design for renovation, providing direction for improvements both short- and long-term. The master plan proposed creating a pathway through the building to showcase available opportunities, repurposing book stack space for new services, individual and group study spaces, and opening the building between floors to improve navigation and visibility. It was important to the university that the new Chester Fritz Library would become a centralized hub for academic support services for student success.

    The exterior of the 150,000 square foot library celebrates the Collegiate Gothic architecture on campus, but the institutional interior was reimagined as both modern and warm, combining inviting finishes and state-of-the-art study and collaborative furniture.

    No longer a barrier between the edge of campus and the historic quad, the library invites students, faculty and community members into the space and acts as a gateway to the heart of campus. On the pathway through the building are academic support, research and IT services, an Artificial Intelligence/Virtual Reality lab and community spaces.

    Design: Stantec
    Contractor: Construction Engineers
    Photography: Steve Silverman