Northwestern College, Orange City, IA, plans to build a new “learning commons,” which will include the library. On March 8, Northwestern’s board will hold a final vote on whether to move forward with groundbreaking this year.
In addition to the library, the 58,000-square-foot building will house the writing center, academic support, learning resources center, the offices of online learning, and a café. “Most of the Learning Commons, however, is designated for student use with a projected 300 additional study spaces available to students,” Dr. Tim Schlak, Northwestern’s library director, told LJ. Floor plans are available online.
The library will house a 200,000-volume book and multimedia collection. A movable shelving-on-rails system will double storage space for the collection, but Schlak says the library doesn’t plan to increase the size of the collection to fill it. “We plan to cull the collection to a significant degree prior to the move-in,” he said. “We will redress gaps in the collection that the systematic review of ongoing weeding is uncovering once we are in the new building.”
The move in, which will make the collection inaccessible for two weeks, will be scheduled for late summer to minimize inconvenience to students. (Summer of which year depends on the board’s vote.) Northwestern has not yet decided what use to make of the library’s current building once the move is complete.
More than $11 million has been raised toward the Learning Commons project’s $15 million goal, including a $2 million gift in April by Jack and Mary DeWitt of Holland, MI. A life insurance gift of $306,000 from a private donor was also designated for the learning commons, as was a $100,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Foundation.
The learning commons is the largest component of the college’s $55 million Imagine Campaign, which was launched in September 2011. Over $37 million in gifts and pledges have been made to the campaign as a whole so far.