WNCC plans new library

Plans to build a new Western Nevada Community College library are still in the infancy stages, but staff and students are looking ahead to its completion.

"It's a fabulous project," said Helaine Jesse, dean of institutional advancement at WNCC. "I'm really excited about it."

Ken Sullivan, library and media services director for the college, said the current library is no longer adequate to serve the needs of the students.

"The one we have now is not very attractive," he said. "The space is very cramped and crowded."

He said the new library will seat about 160 students, while only about 70 can sit in the existing one.

"What we have now is just a bunch of chairs in there," he said. "It's not real desirable seating."

The library will be part of a nearly 35,000-square-foot building that will also house a common area and student center, which may include a fitness area.

The new building was approved in the 1999 Legislature and will cost around $6.7 million to build.

The first step is to determine the site where the building will stand.

"Once the site is decided upon, then we can begin the design," said Anne Hansen, director of marketing and information at WNCC.

The architect, Hershenow and Kippenstein, has a rough draft of the plans that will include an 8,023-square-foot student center, a common area of 3,650 feet and 23,019 square foot library.

The new library will combine with the media services department, which arranges all audio and visual aids within the classroom and maintains the video collection.

Now they are handled separately at two different desks which are about 20 feet apart.

"So, we're kind of shooting ourselves in the foot as far as staffing," Sullivan said.

In addition to the staffing problem, the media center and the library are separated by a hallway.

"What we have now are services that have been cut in two," Sullivan said. "What we're going to have is one coherent workable design."

Sullivan said the design of the new library will also centralize noise so that more quiet areas will be available.

"Libraries tend to be rather noisy places," he said. The noise comes from the reference desk, computers, printers and other electronic devices.

"What we're trying to do is create zones within the library," Sullivan said. "You try to make it so you can contain the noise."

The plans include three group study rooms and one quiet study room as well as carrels, or private desk areas.

"We have such a variety of ages of students and types of students so it's understandable that they would have different studying preferences," Hansen said.

John Dekoekkoek, a criminal justice major at WNCC, said the school needs a new library.

"It's about time. It needs to have more of a selection and it needs to have more room," he said. "It's just not big enough."

Although he is going to graduate in May, he is still enthusiastic about the addition.

"That will be nice for the future students to have," Dekoekkoek said.

The new design will also house a hands-on computer lab where students can learn how to use library technology.

"Right now, we show them on a large screen," Sullivan said. "It's a lot more effective if people can actually sit down for hands-on training."

With all the improvements planned, Sullivan said he wants students to be aware of the new building.

"It's not really obvious where the library is on this campus," he said. "It's fairly well hidden."

Jesse said she also wants the library to be the central focus of the campus. She said technology will never replace libraries.

"People still want to hold a book. People still want to do research with the real thing," she said. "Libraries are still necessary things."

Sullivan said he hopes excitement over the school's library will spill over into support for the public library as well.

"I'm hoping it will get people in Carson more excited about libraries and they will support the public library," he said. "It really could use some help. Carson City needs to support their public library more."

The site should be found by May 1. The expected completion date is March 2002.


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