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Construction Zone: Light-filled study

The Estelle M. Black Library at Rock Valley College, Rockford, Ill., recently has re-emerged as a campus destination. The library once was dark and outdated, but a 60,100-square-foot renovation completed last July has made it an inviting space for students.

One key goal of the project was to create a more open, connected feel within the library. A new glass-faced entry displays library activity to those in the parking lot. A light-filled commons area next to the library attracts students from bordering classroom buildings. The commons offers a coffee bar and lounge seating to enhance campus life, and to promote student interaction and study, and a curved sheet of glass displays the library.

A floor-to-ceiling glass wall and a 20-foot by 20-foot skylight bring natural light to both levels. Stacks were moved to the center, opening up spaces for study along the periphery. Study zones on both levels offer views to nature, as well as other campus buildings. Enhanced zoning separates quiet study areas from more active areas.

The architect is Legat Architects, Inc. (Chicago and Crystal Lake, Ill.)

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