Note: Louisiana legislators will decide what to do with a significant surplus of cash available to the state in the next legislative session in March. Ahead of the session, The Reveille is dedicating a string of stories looking at LSU’s infrastructure. This is the second story in the ongoing series.

On the fourth floor of the LSU Library, bookshelves are covered in plastic tarps, and purple garbage cans collect water from the leaking roof. 

“The roof is already beyond its expected life,” Roger Husser, Assistant Vice President of Planning, Design and Construction, said. “It needs to be replaced, of course.”


Several tarps lead into garbage cans on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, to collect any water leaking from the ceiling of the LSU Library in Baton Rouge, La.

Built in 1958, the library is supposed to be demolished and replaced per LSU’s 2017 campus master plan. But students, faculty and Student Government members have grown impatient with the current state of the building. 

“Our long-term plan is to replace the entire building in a new location per the Campus Master Plan, but we can’t just let the current library leak and fall apart,” Husser said, “so we’ve prioritized funding to address the roof in a temporary fashion in hopes that the entire building will be replaced in coming years.”

Husser said he hopes the new library’s construction is “years away, not decades.” Until then, the priority is keeping the current one from falling apart. The new roof for the library is a top priority on LSU’s list of deferred maintenance needs, which totals over $630 million. 

The new roof should be coming within the next eight to 12 months, Husser said, and will cost $450,000, according to LSU's deferred maintenance list, which totals over $630 million. 


Plastic tarps cover part of the shelving on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, inside of the LSU Library on Tower Drive in Baton Rouge, La.

On Nov. 9, a Student Government resolution under the name Resolution 2 that calls for LSU to prioritize construction of a new library, passed with unanimous support in the Senate. A similar bill was passed in 2019. 

“Our new head coach just signed the largest college football contract of all time, meanwhile the LSU library is flooding in the basement and leaking on the fourth floor,” said political science and economics junior Miles McLendon. 

McLendon, a student senator for Humanities and Social Sciences, understands the university deals with limited funding from the state, but he hopes lawmakers will allocate more money for a library during the next legislative session in March. Louisiana received higher education budget cuts following the Great Recession in 2008. 

“There’s a reason why when I took a tour of LSU as an out-of-state student, they did not take me to the library,” McLendon said. “Now I know why.”


Water marks show on the ceiling on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, caused by leaks in the roof within the LSU Library in Baton Rouge, La.

Sam Staggs, Student Government chair of Academic Affairs and author of Resolution 21, said she wants to see the university prioritize a new library over other infrastructure projects. 

Deferred maintenance, which Husser described as a massive problem, will take precedence over new construction of the library for now. 

“We’ve begun to prioritize that deferred maintenance in all of our capital projects as part of our strategic capital plan,” Husser said. 

The 2017 campus master plan is a comprehensive framework of renovations, constructions and demolitions to campus infrastructure looking decades into the future. In it are plans for a new library located near the T-33 aircraft display and destruction of the current building. 

Sometimes referred to as the “Learning Commons,” the area plans to be the new geographical center of campus. 

Donna Torres, chief financial officer of the university, said the new library will have fewer books and more resources for research. There are also plans to move student resources, such as the Center of Academic Success and testing centers into the new library, so that all student resources are accessible from the same area.

“There'll be places for collaboration for students to meet, work on projects and more technology,” Torres said. “It will not be the stacks of books that we have in LSU.”

The LSU Library, formerly known as Middleton Library, has a long history of being in a seemingly constant state of disrepair. The basement of the library, which houses government documents and microfilm archives, has experienced water damage multiple times, with water seeping in during rainfall. 

LSU’s deferred maintenance list includes a $1-million project to waterproof the basement. In total, the library needs $2.7 million in repairs.

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