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Article appearing in the May 1967 issue of Modern Schools Magazine.

The construction of new, larger gymnasium and physical education facilities frequently leaves the school system with a vacated gym that presents a problem in updating and converting to usefulness.

This problem was solved at Western Kentucky University, and beauty and enrichment were added to the entire campus.

A "feat of utilization" aptly describes the reconstruction and enlargement of the 25-year old physical education building into a modern, three-story library.

The reconstructed building, now known as the Margie Helm library, is well stocked with all the modern devices presently available to library science and is truly a cultural center.

Two floors of the library rose where once basketball fans watched action on the hardwood court. The second floor houses an art room, attractively furnished for display of a collection of materials in the fine arts. Ceiling mounted fluorescent units provide high output lighting for shadowless display.

The main section of the library has an excellent collection of reference volumes plus such features as a law library, microfilm, microprint and microcard collections. Original paintings hang on the walls and sound-deadening carpet complements the contemporary furnishings. Fluorescent units enclosed in translucent plastic highlight the furnishings and provide the high output lighting so necessary in intensive reading areas.

Classrooms, offices, reading and study rooms on the ground floor are devoted to the Department of Library Science.

In addition to designing the library facilities within the shell of the former gymnasium, the architect modernized the exterior by adding a two-story foyer with patio of pre-cast concrete blocks. A combination of glass, aluminum, walnut paneling and huge plastic bubble lights suspended from the 25-foot ceiling set a contemporary atmosphere for the entire building.


Western Kentucky University, Helm-Cravens Library (WKU)


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