New landscaping

Artist's rendering shows view of the landscaped open space that will replace Meyer Library, looking west from Escondido Road toward the main Quad. (University Architect / Campus Planning & Design)

Stanford's Meyer Library to be replaced with landscaped open space

Over the next six months, crews will salvage furniture inside the building for re-use by university departments, schools and Stanford Surplus Sales. High-reach excavators will begin tearing down Meyer in April 2015.

After Meyer Library is demolished next spring, Stanford will transform the open space with walkways, benches and gentle slopes surrounded by trees.

By razing Meyer, Stanford will restore one of the original axes of the campus along Escondido – from student residences on the east side of campus to the Main Quad – and create a visual connection between the Law School and Green Library.

The landscaping is expected to be completed in December 2015.

Coupa Café, a popular eatery housed in an outdoor kiosk in front of Green Library, will remain in its present location. Bike parking in the area will be expanded.

Stanford decided to demolish Meyer rather than spend more than $45 million to bring it into compliance with current seismic safety standards.

The former occupants of Meyer, including the East Asia Library, Academic Computing Services and a 24-hour study space, are now housed in Lathrop Library, an existing Graduate School of Business building that Stanford refurbished, renovated and renamed. The library was named in honor of Jane Lathrop Stanford, who co-founded the university with her husband, Leland Stanford, in 1891.

University Architect / Campus Planning & DesignAerial view

Artist's rendering shows aerial view of the trees and walkways that will replace Meyer Library after it's demolished in 2015.

Meyer, which opened in 1966, has a central atrium students once used for paper airplane contests. Some students nicknamed it "UgLI," because that was the abbreviation for "Undergraduate Library" on their class schedules. At its dedication, the four-story library was described as a building "of notable beauty." Its soaring arcades have long served as the backdrop for a mammoth "Beat Cal" sign, a rallying cry for the annual football game against the University of California, Berkeley.

The J. Henry Meyer Memorial Library was built in memory of a California banker and business leader who donated funds in 1911 to build Stanford's Lane Medical Library, and endowed a fund in 1916 that enabled the university to collect important Western historical manuscripts. His two daughters, one a 1905 Stanford graduate, donated funds to help build what the dedication program for Meyer Library called a "towering monument in their father's name."

Crews recently installed six-foot-tall construction fencing around Meyer.

Over the next six months, crews will salvage its furniture for re-use by departments and schools, and by Stanford Surplus Sales. They will salvage mechanical, electrical and plumbing items for reuse by Stanford Buildings & Grounds Maintenance.

Kharon Hathaway, a project manager in Stanford's Department of Project Management, said the university hopes to use the crushed concrete from the building for the stabilized base needed for its new landscaping. Metals, such as the shelves from the library stacks, will be recycled when possible. 

"Other building materials will be salvaged for re-use or recycling as the opportunity presents itself," she said.

Crews also will remove utility feeds to the building (domestic water, electrical, sanitary sewer, storm drain, etc.) and reroute any utilities that will be in conflict with the new landscaping.

Demolition is expected to begin in April 2015 and take about 1½ months.

Hathaway said high-reach excavators will be used to tear down the building. The demolition will begin on the south side of the building – the Law School side – and work north toward Green Library.