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College Breaks Ground for Learning Resource Center

Northwestern Connecticut Community College (est. 1965) broke ground in March for its new $4.3 million, 24,000 s.f. Learning Resource Center, designed by TSKP STUDIO, which also prepared the master plan for the College.

This is the “first new construction, specifically designed for its intended function that this College has ever enjoyed,” said NCCC President R. Eileen Baccus proudly. “As with many community colleges, our facilities have all been retrofitted for conversion from their original purposes. In our case this included a former supermarket, gas station and elementary school. This new construction represents the State of Connecticut's testament to the importance of our College as a partner in the economic future of this region.”

Americans have been making tremendous investments in libraries. According to the Library Journal (12-15-2001), the past year saw 212 library projects (both new construction and renovations) comprising over 4 million square feet and costing more than $686 million. Citizens and communities are clearly committed to libraries and have increased their expectations for new functions and services requiring new kinds of facilities.

“In order to be successful, libraries must satisfy three important criteria,” notes T. Whitcomb Iglehart, AIA, a partner at TSKP STUDIO. “First, they must be located at the core of the campus in order to serve as an academic ‘center of gravity.’ Second, they must provide a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for research and study. And thirdly, they must provide access to all resource media in a simple and well-organized manner.”

“The Learning Resource Center is located at the corner of Route 44 and Route 8, adjacent to both the historic Town Green and to Founders Hall, the primary academic building. In this location it will be much more accessible to students and will also serve as a landmark and gateway to both the college and the town. When completed in 2003 the LRC will be technologically up-to-date and intimate. It will have a distinctive rotunda, a computer classroom, individual and group study areas, offices, and a conference center with several meeting spaces. The design will be very welcoming for students with a panoramic view of the Still River and optimal use of natural light.“

“We are continually improving resources available for instructional services, a crucial part of our function,” says Anne Dodge, NCCC librarian, “just as our peers in public libraries are increasingly doing patron education workshops. Our doors will continue to be open to the community to inspire additional area residents to enroll at Northwestern. Almost 50 percent of our users are non-students because of the unique, service-oriented nature of community colleges!”

“When asked about the impact of the Internet on libraries Dodge says that, “if anything, the Internet has broadened our responsibilities as librarians, as we help people to sort and sift through vast amounts of information. It has been an interesting process to convince the outside world that we are really Internet savvy. For example, we have recently been providing background information so that people can learn about Islam and the Middle East. We are being asked to cover many different bases, which is why libraries are now being called Learning Resource Centers.”

“TSKP STUDIO recently received an award for design of the SAND School, Hartford, which was strongly focused on the creative integration of a branch of the Hartford Public Library into the school library. TSKP STUDIO Receives Design Award for SAND School In addition, the firm has recently been selected to design the renovations and expansion to the Wilton (CT) Library.

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