Same on the Outside. Renovated on the Inside.

Helmke has been Renovated!

2nd-floor-felt-curtainFor those of you who are new to campus and didn’t get to experience Helmke Library before the renovations, the Helmke Library was in great need of some updates. Despite a few interior updates of furniture and such, there had been no updates to the building’s infrastructure since it was built in the 70s and it was in desperate need of help! So many things that we consider essential now weren’t requirements in a building built 40+ years ago—things like the increased demand for power, WiFi connectivity, energy-saving lighting, and ADA accommodations.

file_000In order to decrease the cost and time to completion, the decision was made to close the library building for one year while the structure was gutted and then rebuilt inside the shell that remained. This meant everyone (except the Honors Center, which opened in the Library Learning Commons in 2014) needed to be out of the building. To help the library in its transition time, the Writing Center moved to Kettler with the rest of CASA at the end of the spring 2015 semester, and the library building officially closed on December 20—while maintaining services to students through the Library Services Center.

On January 3, 2017, library and partner staff (including CASA) were able to begin their work day in their new offices in the library, and on January 17, 2017 the library celebrated its Grand Reopening—which coincided with the Writing Center opening for the Spring 2017 semester. The library is such an open, inviting space now! Here are some of the benefits we get to enjoy:

  • A new heating and cooling system (no need to bring blankets anymore!). The old HVAC system was installed as a total electric system in 1972 and was replaced with a new system based on energy-efficient design standards
  • Upgraded plumbing and ADA Compliant, refinished restrooms
  • New LED lighting throughout the building, including energy-efficient extras such as time-of-day and occupancy sensors and dimmable lighting
  • New study spaces, including seven group study/presentation practice rooms, a new teaching lab, and an updated Learning Commons
  • New wiring and increased power outlets throughout the building, especially in study spaces
  • All new network equipment, including wireless access points
  • New A/V equipment throughout the building
  • New information displays to keep you connected to IPFW and Library news, including a media wall with 120” of screens
  • A new stairway connecting the first and second floor
  • New concierge-style service desks to make sure you are connected to the people, services, and information you need
  • Easy access to librarians, the Writing Center, other CASA services, Studio M, the Honors Center, and IT help in the Learning Commons
  • A new fire alarm and sprinkler system throughout the building, specially designed to protect both you and the library’s collections
  • High-quality finishes, from flooring to security systems, designed to enhance your safety and comfort whenever you visit the library
  • An Art Exhibit wall to showcase student and faculty artwork
  • A quiet study/reading room on the quiet floor (4th floor) for students who want a very quiet, comfortable studying environment

20170106-helmke-renov-jw-jw-013It’s also important to note that the funds for this $11 million renovation came from special funding to support the library’s deferred maintenance and renovation, which were approved by the Indiana State Legislature, and from the library’s endowment. Absolutely none of the funds came from monies that could have gone towards saving the academic programs eliminated from IPFW’s list of degree options.

Definitely come check it out. If you stop by, there are self-guided tour brochures available at the services desks on the first and second floors that take you through all four floors of the building, pointing out the upgrades and the awesome continuing services available to our students and the community!

Written by: Kristine Frye

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