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Daily Journal
     January 30, 2020      #84-30 KDJ
Rob Kenney, Kankakee Community College’s coordinator of facility construction and building maintenance, looks over the plans to renovate the college’s library.

Daily Journal/John Dykstra

KCC begins $5M library rehab 

By Lee Provost

KANKAKEE — It is out with the old and in with the new at Kankakee Community College as the school begins a $5 million renovation of its 19,150-square-foot library.

On the school’s list of pending projects for about 10 years, the college closed the Harold and Jean Miner Memorial Library on Dec. 2 and Heritage Development & Construction Co., of Kankakee, is set to begin work in early January.

The school has set up a temporary library for the spring semester in Room D212.

The project, green-lighted in February by the KCC Board of Trustees, is being funded by the KCC Foundation, reserve funds and bonds, KCC spokeswoman Kari Nugent said.

“This project has been talked about, dreamt about for a long time. The new Student Success Center will provide for a more robust college experience,” Nugent said.

The library has largely been unchanged since it opened in 1972. The Chicago-based firm of Demonica Kemper Architects designed the new space. The firm has extensive experience with schools and designed Moraine Valley Community College’s Student Success Center.

The Student Success Center, KCC President Michael Boyd said, will be much more than just a library. In fact, he said, the library will be located within the Student Success Center.

He said the new facility is a reflection of what the school’s founders had in mind when the school was constructed.

“It’s time to bring this vision to a new era. We are not just preserving our library, but recreating it. We want this area to be a major hub of student activity,” he said. “This is about responding to the needs of today’s learners.”

The location will not be just about books, publications and quiet space.

It will have those elements, of course, but many more features as well.

The space will be remodeled with an emphasis on collaboration, technology and learning, Nugent said. She noted the area will feature areas for tutoring, classrooms, small events as well as faculty and staff training programs. There will be many areas for students to access and experiment with instructional technology.

College staff visited many community colleges to gain ideas and college officials also toured the renovations at Kankakee High School.

While Nugent wasn’t part of the Kankakee High School tour, she said KCC officials came away impressed.

“Basically, our library has not changed much since 1972. It’s nostalgic, very functional, but it needed to change,” Nugent said. “Students wanted and deserve a better space.”

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Kankakee Community College will seal off its library to remove asbestos as it begins a $5 million renovation with the hope of having its new Student Success Center ready by the 2020-21 school year.

John Dykstra, jdykstra@daily-journal.com

Lee Provost
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