Library to get new look, new name and new services over summer
“When you walk into the library, that whole right side where Kresge and the computer lab is, it’s being completely blown out,” Marketing Director Kim Campbell said. “All the walls are coming out and that side will still hold Kresge but in a much more open environment. Kresge will drop the ‘Kresge’ and become just the Academic Support Center, and then where the computer lab is right now will open up and become the Career and Life Calling office.”
The makeover, set to be completed by the beginning of the fall semester, would be funded primarily by the $10 million Title III Department of Education Strengthening Institutions Program grant the university received in September 2014, Marketing Director Kim Campbell said.
The main goal of the grant is to create a center for academic and professional success that houses services for student success, she said. Such services would include wellness and counseling, library and library services, academic support, career services and faculty development. Beginning in the fall, all of these services, except for wellness and counseling, which are directed by Elizabeth Diddle and located in campus center, would be housed in the renovated library.
Dr. Rick Hanson, associate vice president for Academic and Professional Success, manages how MidAmerica implements the grant, which includes overseeing the directors of the five areas of student success and the renovations to the library. He said that as soon as students enter the building in the fall they would be able to see a whole new space on the right side of the library.
“The goal of the renovation is really to bring together more resources in an open and inviting space,” Hansen said. “Right now if you come to the Kresge Learning Center you'd have to find the door.”
The new space would include an open multi-purpose study area with new tables and charging stations for phones and laptops that would also serve as space for the Academic Support Center, Hansen said.
The current computer lab area would house the Career and Life Calling Office, which would include room for companies to give presentations and conduct interviews in a professional space. Hansen also said there would be specific testing rooms built into the back of the space to give students a quiet place away from the noise of the rest of the Academic Support Center.
Campbell said that the money from the grant only covers spaces explicitly dedicated to student success, which only applies to the right side of the library, Campbell said. However, the university is treating the renovations as a comprehensive project and would look for donors or university resources to redo the left side of the space as well.
“What they would like to do is put in new carpet and new furniture in the whole first floor and keep that left side open as a conversational small group space collaboration station,” Campbell said.
The left side of the library may end up being a lounge area for students and house the Center for Games and Learning, with the center table with computers staying where it currently is and the computer lab moving upstairs to make room for the Career and Life Calling office, Hansen said.
Christine Snyder, who has worked in career services at two previous universities, has been hired as the director of the new Career and Life Calling office and would be helping to launch programs and events designed to aid students in vocational success, Hansen said.
Hansen said it is necessary for the whole building to take on a new identity, since Mabee Library contained a variety of resources and would be adding more over the summer.
“The building will contain the library,” Hansen said. “The building will not be the library.”
Campbell held focus groups with faculty and students to determine what new name would best suit the building and its role in student success.
“We're going to rename the building at the same time the space is remodeled to communicate that things are new,” Campbell said. “We want it to feel different, be different and be called something different all at the same time.”
Campbell said that Mabee had to stay a part of the name because of the agreement the school made with the grant that paid for the building in the first place. Through a series of faculty focus groups, the marketing department selected four names and brought those to student focus groups: Mabee Center, Mabee Student Success Center, Mabee Learning Commons, and Mabee Center for Academic and Professional Success.
Campbell said the official new name would be announced before students returned in the fall.
Renée DeVaultNews Editor, Managing Editor - More by this author
Renée DeVault ('19) is a Bible Theology and Communications major from Olathe, Kansas. She has been a member of The Trailblazer as a reporter, news editor, and managing editor.She is also the Administrative Chaplain of MidAmerica Nazarene University.