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Helmke Library to be Under Construction

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Photo credit: Dustin Keelsar

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Written by: Mikaela ConleyMarch 19, 2015

Campus will once again be under construction as major renovations are in store for Helmke Library this fall. August 2015 will mark the first major renovation made to the library in 43 years, since it was built in 1972.
The project is expected to be completed by fall 2016. Students will then return to find the first and second floors completely redone with more technology, more study rooms, and some new architectural updates. An extension of Studio M, presentation practice and quiet rooms, more outlets, and modern furniture will be among the many changes.
Adding to the list, the heating and air conditioning systems will be replaced with a more energy efficient system, telecommunication will be updated, and a new fire suppression system will be installed, along with new lighting.

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Courtesy Rendering

Renovations have also been planned for the third and fourth floors of the library, but it is not yet known if there will be enough money to carry those out at this time.
“We are doing this for the students and the faculty, so we want to make the building something that will carry us forward for the next 50 years,” said Cheryl Truesdell, dean of the library.
While the core of the building will not be accessible to students that year, the library will still provide all of its normal services, just in different areas.
Librarians and services will be placed in the conference room on the sky bridge. What is now the 24 hour computer lab will be replaced by the main checkout service, where students will be able to pick up books that they have requested, meet with a librarian, check out laptops and iPads, and much more.
Final decisions have not yet been made as to where the rest of the services will be provided, but Truesdell and colleagues from Student Affairs hope to add more study rooms and computers in Walb Student Union to make up for what will be unavailable during the year of construction.
The Writing Center will be moved back to Kettler Hall for the year, but, “we have provided them with a lot of new office and writing spaces for when they return,” Truesdell said.
The Honors Center and CATV will remain in their current locations with only a few entry restrictions during the construction.
More tables and chairs will also be moved to the sky bridge and outside the second floor of the bookstore to ensure that students have the space that they need until the unveiling of the new, modern Helmke.
Truesdell said, “We have over 250,000 e-books, over 85,000 e-journals and 200 online databases, so a lot of our resources are online. That makes it possible to do all of this… It’s also an opportunity for us to actually showcase those.”
Truesdell is excited about the renovations and wants to reassure students that the construction is a good thing.
“It will be done in the shortest amount of time possible, with the least amount of disruption possible to students and staff,” Truesdell said. “We are not going anywhere. Librarians and staff will be right here through the whole process, providing the same services that we always have.”
More information will be made available to students as decisions are made and construction progresses. Watch your IPFW email, the Helmke Highlights monthly newsletter, ipfw.edu/libraryrefresh and ipfwcommunicator.org for updates.

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