WKU dedicates The Commons at Helm Library; already prepping for Cherry Hall revamp

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Western Kentucky University spent Wednesday morning officially dedicating their $30 million dollar renovation project.

City leaders joined the proud Hilltoppers for a ribbon cutting to celebrate four years of work perfecting The Commons at Helm Library.

WKU President Tim Caboni shared his pride and thankfulness, joined along with others speakers who spearheaded this building redesign. 

“What you see today is a library of the future,” said Caboni. “This is a national model for what libraries can become, and we have it right here in Bowling Green, Warren County, on the WKU Campus.”

Helm’s completed redesign is one large step in WKU’s 10 year master plan to develop the ultimate student friendly, sustainable campus. 

Student body president, senior Cole Bornefeld said, “As soon as this building opened in the spring semester, this building was filled with excitement…. This is just a testament of WKU and the value they put into students.” 

The now 85,000 square foot  library still holds traces of its 1931 foundation. Back then, it served as a physical education building and basketball court.

The speakers emphasize how proud they were of the building’s energy efficiency. 

WKU’s Dean of University Libraries Susann de Vries shared, “I think being open minded in the concept with the key to success in this project…. [The students’] awe and wonderment is just such a joy to see.”

Caboni believes the revamped Helm Library will improve retention and graduation rates at WKU. 

The university is already looking at plans to transform their historic hilltop building, Cherry Hall, with funds approaching $78 million. 

Much like Helm’s redesign, WKU plans to strip the building to its studs but strategically leave traces of history in the redesign.

Coordinators tell us they also plan to add a roundabout and water feature off of Normal Street.