Lumpkin Learning Commons
The Lumpkin Learning Commons has moved away from its previous role as the passive, Lumpkin Library and now focuses on collaboration, partnerships and enhanced service offerings. The Commons is made up of three services: library services, tutoring services, and the “Writer’s Block.”
Recent renovations are the beginning of a multi-phase project to transition the Commons from a 20th century library into a 21st century center for academic support. The entrance and lobby area has already been renovated to provide a more welcoming environment and office space to better help provide student services. Moveable furniture throughout the building allows students to work independently or rearrange the furnishings into a more collaborative environment.
A second phase is underway, renovating the north portion of the building into offices, classrooms and meeting areas. Finally, a third phase will address improvements to the main reading room that houses the library collection, as well as a multi-purpose learning environment.
The repurposing of the space in this building is crucial as the College continues to develop services that contribute to student success. Librarians are now partners in educating students and, as educators, help students navigate the vast amounts of information they encounter in their daily lives. Today’s students are living in an age of information overload where media literacy, information literacy and digital literacy are crucial, as they learn to determine the validity of information.
The new Lumpkin Learning Commons offers a one-stop location for all information needs, academic and career services for students.
Jaenke Alumni Center
For the last decade, a former hub of activity has been virtually vacant. C.H.C. Anderson Hall, the former student union commonly called “The Den”, has been closed since fall 2002. Since that time, the building has been used for the staging of phon-a-thon and a historical exhibit during the Homecoming Celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the College.
From its opening in 1954, to its closing, the building was recognized as the campus social center. Originally, it housed a snack bar, a large lounge, and the college bookstore. Its high usage and popularity necessitated a renovation in 1968 where the total space was enlarged by two-thirds including a lounge expansion, television room, game room, expanded bookstore, and the mailroom. In addition, a new patio was developed as a result of a gift from the Class of 1969.
The building and opening of the Demuzio Campus Center in 2002 created a new campus venue for student activity. This new modern building matched the growing needs of the student population while putting more student related offices (Work Program, Student Life, and Admissions) and the campus dining hall under one roof. As a result, the Anderson building became somewhat obsolete.
Blackburn’s leadership team has developed a plan for the repurposing of the Anderson Building that will create usable space while preserving the character of the Den as remembered by generations of alumni. The Claire Jaenke Alumni & Visitors Center at Anderson will house the offices of Institutional Advancement, casual meeting space and a large conference room.
New windows will modernize the building and improvements to the outside landscaping and patio area will make the building more aesthetically pleasing as the new Claire Jaenke Alumni & Visitors Center at Anderson.
The total cost of renovation of the building and materials is projected to be $300,000, and the repurposed facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.
Renovation of Residence Halls
The two most venerable residence halls on the Blackburn College campus are due for some very significant renovations. Butler Hall and Stoddard Hall were built in the 1920s and Blackburn alumni from virtually every era have memories of these two important buildings as their “home away from home”. Both residence halls are reminders of the commitment and hard work of the students who built them, and part of a heritage that we must secure for future generations of Blackburn students.
Butler Hall, opened in 1928, was named for the late Burridge Butler, a one-time trustee and benefactor of the College. The facility was built by student labor as part of the Work Program. Currently, the three-story building houses 96 students (male and female) and hosts the offices of Institutional Research, and Enrollment Services.
Historically, Butler Hall was known for housing Club 48 in the basement of the building during post World War II years. Due to a surge in enrollment, a combination of wide-eyed freshman male students lived with returning veterans in a barracks style housing arrangement from 1946-48. This experience was documented by alumnus Richard Alexander in a book that chronicled his personal experience as well as many of his classmates.
The first residence hall built for students at Blackburn was Stoddard Hall. Constructed in 1924 as an all-female dormitory, practically all the materials for the building were donated. This, combined with student labor, kept the cost to a minimum. The most substantial donation was received from Sara Bell Stoddard of Minonk, Illinois, and the building was named in memory of her husband, Mr. Bela Morgan Stoddard. Over the years, Stoddard has housed the Home Economics Laboratory, the Music Department, and the college laundry. Currently, Stoddard has the capacity to house 110 male and female students.
The primary elements of the Stoddard and Butler projects are renovations of the public areas, restrooms, basements, and the installation of an air conditioning system in each hall. At the present time, these are the only residence halls that are not air conditioned. Recently, both Stoddard and Butler have had fire suppression systems installed, as did all the other residence halls.
Each time the resident student body has been surveyed over the last six years, residence hall improvements have been consistently in the top three positive changes requested by students.
The total amount of the Residence Hall Renovations campaign objective is $2.5 million.
Recreation, Athletic and Fitness
Blackburn has a long history of solid competition in athletics and the College is committed to the health and well-being of every student. However, the condition of the school’s recreation, athletics, and fitness facilities has continued to be a challenge, whether students are participating in intramurals, competing for championships, or just trying to stay in shape.
Student responses to queries from Student Life indicate a lot of support for adequate space and equipment for exercise and personal fitness activities. Personal wellness needs to be a priority on the Blackburn campus.
Additionally, functional space for intramurals and recreation is something that many incoming college students have as a basic expectation. Having the facilities necessary to accomplish this also leads to a more active and vibrant campus.
Throughout its history, Blackburn has been very competitive in just about all of its athletic programs at one time or another. Renovations or enhancements of our dated facilities will contribute greatly to future successes in all of the intercollegiate sports.
This very important objective has elements that positively affect the entire college community. First, are plans to transform the swimming pool area in Woodward Hall into a comprehensive fitness facility. The pool was shut down five years ago due to lack of use and continuing erosion of the infrastructure. Since then, the facility has stood vacant. The conversion of this area will entail filling the actual swimming pool and renovating that entire space into a cardiovascular area including treadmills, elliptical machines, and exercise bikes, weight machines, free weights, and a pilates/aerobics/stretching area. We anticipate this conversion from dead space into high-use space to cost in the neighborhood of $1,000,000.
Dawes Gym, built in 1938, stands as a monument to student workers who labored to build it, making use of the resources available at the time. Now somewhat dated, there have been improvements of lighting and paint in the gymnasium but the locker rooms and coaches’ offices require a great deal of repair and renovation.