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Construction progresses at IPFW's Walter E. Helmke Library

Aug. 17, 2016

It was in September 1972 -- before personal computers and the internet -- that IPFW’s Walter E. Helmke Library opened. Since December 2015, it has been getting upgrades and renovations to bring the building into the 21st century.

"The renovation is moving along on schedule," library dean Cheryl Truesdell said. "We are not anticipating any delays that will prevent us from opening for spring semester 2017. It is very exciting to see the building come back to life."

When it was built in 1972, Helmke Library was not equipped with the power or network infrastructure to support the modern academic and research needs of the students and faculty. So, the yearlong building renovation plans include a new network and updated WiFi. It’s also getting more power outlets, security cameras and new LED lighting throughout.

On top of the technological upgrades, the building’s will have a new heating and cooling system, upgraded plumbing and restrooms and a new fire suppression system when it opens in January.

"Already the new LED lighting has brightened each floor," Truesdell said. "The new furniture and staircase connecting the first and second floors is modern, flexible and geared to a variety of student study behaviors. 

At the start of IPFW’s spring semester, the library will boast a new staircase, updated public spaces, group study rooms, presentation and practice rooms, a new computer and teaching lab and all new furniture.

"The library will be a showcase for the campus when it reopens," Truesdell said.

Even though the library is undergoing renovations and parts of it are currently off-limits to students and faculty, the Library Services Center at the first-floor entrance still offers resources and help from librarians. Books, laptops, and reserved items are accessible for students, faculty and staff to checkout. Face-to-face and online consultations with librarians as well as computer labs across campus are still available.

To find out more about the renovations and how they’re progressing, go to the Helmke Library Refresh website or get updates on the Helmke Library Facebook page.

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