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Construction crews begin to work on renovations to Helm Library by FAC on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019.

Things are changing at Margie Helm library. The stairs that lead to the Garrett Conference Center have been replaced with gravel. The sights, sounds, and smells of Java City are gone and replaced with the hectic din of construction work. 

A chain link fence surrounds all of the best ways in and the halls are devoid of anything that will be helpful for classes this fall. Helm has been under construction this summer as the WKU Commons project begins.

Helm was closed for renovations at the end of the Spring 2019 semester. Progress has been made on interior demolition and the removal of the exterior steps and front entrance, according to Bob Skipper, director of media relations. 

“The project is on schedule and there have been no unanticipated challenges,” Skipper said via email.

Due to the construction, a fence has been put up around the library that blocks some of the steps uphill.

The books, magazines, and other printed materials from Helm have been moved the Raymond Cravens Library or stored, and Cravens will continue to offer normal library services, Skipper said via email. 

According to the WKU Commons website, this new project will provide “individual study and collaborative work spaces for students” and allow students to engage with faculty and staff in a different atmosphere.

The WKU Commons will offer “multiple dining options,” according to the website. Previously, Helm Library was home to Java City. In the fall, Java City will be in the Garret Conference Center, Skipper said via email.

The WKU Commons is expected to open in 2021, according to the website. The next steps for Helm Library are the completion of demolition and construction bids need to be placed, Skipper said.

News reporter Lily Burris can be reached at 270-745-6011 and lily.burris203@topper.wku.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @lily_burris.