Western Kentucky University’s Helm Library will no longer be a repository for books and quiet learning.
The library is preparing to close for a remodel that will take about two years to complete. The $35 million project will transform Helm Library into a place where students, faculty, and staff can eat, study, and socialize.
A collaboration between Aramark Restaurant Group and University Libraries is reinventing the space to include dining options and meeting areas.
WKU President Timothy Caboni calls The WKU Commons at Helm Library the “intellectual hub” of the campus.
“Our contract with Aramark calls for a significant investment in dining options at the top of the Hill,” Dr. Caboni said in a news release. “This provided a wonderful opportunity to create a space that invigorates engagement, stimulates learning and creates a sense of community for the entire WKU family.”
Helm Library will close at the end of the 2019 semester to allow construction of the WKU Commons. The library is slated to re-open in the spring of 2021. Many of the materials housed there will be moved to Cravens Library while some will be temporarily stored.
The building opened in 1931 and was named for librarian Margie Helm in 1964. It was first used as a gymnasium, referred to as the Big Red Barn. The basketball court jump circle will be preserved in its original location.