Campus construction designed to help students

The Fine Arts and Design Studio under construction, 2018. Photo by Jennifer Tharp

With construction workers moving in and out, rooms shifting from floor to floor and librarians offering help to confused students, the library construction itself has been far from helpful to students or staff. According to those involved in the construction, though, the overall goal is to make things more convenient for everyone on campus.

The library’s construction, which began on September 18, is part of multiple renovations happening to the entire campus since 2017. The other renovations include the creation of the Fine Arts and Design Studios and the Career and Technology Center, the transition of the Arts and Technology building and the renovation of the Student Center entrance with the goal of making it the college’s main entrance.

“The remodel and renovation are pretty much going to enable the entire academic support division to be in one building for the first time ever,” Mark Daganaar, director of Library Services said. “So, that’s kind of a unique thing and it’s great for the campus to have as a resource.”

The renovations that started this semester are not the only changes that have been made to the library. Last year, construction started on the second and third floors.
“The third-floor renovation started in January and then it was completed around May,” Daganaar said. “The spring [was] when the second floor could start to take place and there was some talk of having an [entryway] out front during the summer and they did some work there. They put in a new foundation, but they’re going to be building a new entrance on the first floor, which is nice for students because they’ll be able to actually go into a heated space before the doors to the library.”

The central staircase, which previously only connected the first and second floor, will now create a pathway to the library’s third level as well.

Although these changes are being made with the intention of making the library more convenient for students, construction has caused difficulties. These disruptions, such as the displacement of offices and faculty during the construction process, were handled carefully by the college. Vince Miller, dean of academic support, discussed how workers limited this displacement.

“To minimize disruption, we started on the third floor so that we could move the people who used to be on the second floor up to the third floor [once it was finished,]” Miller said. “Otherwise, if we tried to do [the floors] at the same time, there would have been a bunch of people on the second floor who we would have had to send somewhere else temporarily for six months.”

The second floor was then worked, with the goal of moving everything from the first floor there during the lower level’s construction. Now, the final step is to create the resource centers on the first floor, which will be completed in March of 2020.

These changes are being made with the hope to make it easier on students by having each of the college’s resource centers, which used to be scattered throughout campus, in one central area.

“The Science Resource Center is going to become part of the nursing and simulations and expansion for them,” Miller said. “The Math Resource Center will a couple of classrooms in there and some offices. The Writing Center [will have] a couple of classrooms. The Academic Achievement Center, I believe [will have] three classrooms and a seating area. For the Student Language Resource Center, which has been on the second floor, is now gone and is part of the open floor space for the new library area.”

Even though the renovation process itself isn’t ideal, the college hopes that it will be a beneficial change that everyone will be happy with.

“We plan to have some kind of grand opening,” Miller said. “The library will have now all the academic support functions, and so that’s going to be a very exciting space for students.”


Story by Jake Ditto



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