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updated: 1/20/2012 2:39 PM

Grand opening of new learning center at ECC

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The new Academic Library and Learning Center at Elgin Community College is already open to students, but the public is invited to a week in special events celebrating the grand opening.

From Monday, Jan. 23 through Friday, Jan. 27, the college will host a plethora of events and activities.

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The college will host a series of open houses where visitors can take a tour and learn about the services and staff available at the library. Guided tours are held at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During the tour, visitors will have the chance to view special displays, including Chinese artworks by Shaozong Men, a traditional Chinese artist who uses special rice paper, handmade books by ECC professor Connie Orbeta and photographs by Xiaoguo Li.

A Library History Lunch is scheduled for noon on Thursday, Jan. 26. A presentation panel will trace the roots of ECC's library from its 1960 opening in Renner Hall to its present status. Reservations for that event are now closed.

The week of events will culminate in the grand opening ceremony at 2 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20 where ECC President David Sam and the Elgin Community College District 509 board of trustees will commemorate the occasion.

Richard Renner, the son of Gil Renner, the college's first president, will be on hand for the ceremony. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Cristina Castro, at (847) 214-7144 or via email at ccastro@elgin.edu.

The 57,000-square-foot building features a multilingual, multimedia collection, college archives, a technical center with 75 computers plus three computer classrooms, 14 private study rooms and a cafe.

Voters in 2009 affirmed a $178 million bond referendum to support the college's master plan. In addition to the library and learning center, the college constructed a new health careers center. That 130,000-square-foot center features state-of-the-art health care training facilities, classrooms and the new home for the life sciences and biology.

Art exhibit open: The Art is Elementary exhibit featuring artwork from 20 of Elgin Area District U-46's elementary schools is now open at the First Community Bank at 50 Tyler Creek Plaza, near the intersection of Big Timber Road and McLean Boulevard in Elgin.

Only eight to 10 pieces of art are selected from each school for the show.

The bank is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The show will run through Feb. 9.

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