Harper College dedicates renovated library to honor Barrington philanthropists
Harper College on Thursday formally dedicated its renovated $27.4 million, 107,000-square-foot library that houses books, computers, 15 study rooms and areas for students to get extra academic help.
The three-floor library is one of the original buildings on the Palatine campus that opened in 1969. But since August 2016, the structure has gone through a complete transformation: fully gutted, all mechanicals replaced, and the interior layout reconfigured with a mix of computer labs, quiet rooms, open areas, and content creation and recording studios.
At a rededication ceremony Thursday afternoon, Harper President Ken Ender said the library renovation was the most complicated building project on campus in the last decade.
"I know the majority of you remember being in the old library," Ender told invited guests. "Do you currently know where you are?"
College officials Thursday named the building -- originally called Building F -- the David K. Hill Family Library in recognition of David and Diane Hill's contributions to the school in excess of $1 million.
David Hill, a trustee from 2004 until his death in 2008, was founder, chairman and CEO of Kimball Hill Homes. Diane Hill, a retired educator and current trustee, first completed her late husband's term and then won election to 6-year terms in 2009 and 2015.
The Barrington couple donated funds to create a deaf institute and individual scholarships and supported capital fundraising campaigns and the Promise Scholarship Program.
"I think this place really is not only the intersection of campus, but it brings together (David's) passion for learning, collaborating and engaging in the community," Diane Hill said at the ceremony, also attended by her son, David III.
The library is home to Harper's Academic Support Center, which includes a writing center and tutoring center and offers other "success services," such as improving study skills and time management during one-hour sessions with learning specialists. The building also houses Harper's Academy for Teaching Excellence, where full-time and adjunct faculty participate in workshops and other professional development.
The renovations were among the $153.6 million in projects authorized by voters in a 2008 referendum. A $38 million renovation of the school's old Wellness and Sports Center is still under construction, scheduled to be complete in the fall.