Catawba library dedicated

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Catawba College News Service
Sunlight streams into a reading room through large gothic windows. Soft chairs and study rooms fill a mezzanine.
Renovation has brought a new air to Catawba College’s Corriher-Linn-Black Library.
The extensive redesign and expansion project is complete now. It culminated Monday in a dedication ceremony that recognized more than a dozen donors with spaces named in their honor.
The college also dedicated the William F. Palmer Archives, named for a 1956 alumnus who went on to join the college faculty in the teacher education department. Palmer, who died in 2005, also served as Catawba’s archivist and historian.
The Palmer family’s connection to Catawba dates back to the institution’s days in Newton. Palmer’s parents both graduated from Old Catawba.
His sister, Dr. Etna McCullough, also graduated from Catawba. She went on to become one of the first women to earn a medical degree and a practicing physician in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
People at the dedication received signed copies of the book Palmer was working on at the time of his death, “So Close to My Heart: Memories of Catawba College in Newton, North Carolina.” The book was published through the dedication of his wife, Ann, the work of Dr. Gary Freeze and the support of his sister, Dr. McCullough.
The library’s renovation happened in less than two years, moving from a vague vision of what the library could become to the renovated and functional space it is now.
Under the leadership of College Provost Dr. Jesse McCartney and Assistant Dean Philip Acree Cavalier, a building committee formed in the spring of 2006.
In addition to the college librarians ó Jacquelyn Sims, Amanda Nash, Steve McKinzie, Constance Grant and Keith Engwall ó the committee enlisted a diverse collection of faculty members including Dr. Gordon Grant, associate professor of English; Joanna Jasper, chief information officer; Dr. Renee McCachren, chair of the Music Department; and Christopher Zink, associate professor of Theatre Arts.
The committee faced difficulties. The collection had to be moved out and stored before going back in. Much of the interior had to be redesigned. And construction crews had to remove asbestos and reconfigure larger areas in the lower level that had belonged to the computer services department.
College officials wanted the building to wed the charm and eloquence of an earlier era with the sophistication and comfort of the present.
The main level features a large reading room and information commons with sets of large gothic windows allowing plenty of natural light.
The main level also boasts a state-of-the-art instruction room with projection capabilities and 33 computers. Just above the main level and overlooking the information commons, the mezzanine offers soft seating flanked by study rooms.
Most of the collection, aside from the reference collection on the main level, is housed in the lower level.
Diane Gibbs with RamsayńBurginńSmith Architects redesigned the building. James Oaks of Lawler Woods oversaw the project.
David Hartman of Summit Development headed up much of the day-to-day construction, while Henry Haywood, the college’s facility manager, gave on-site support.
In the final stages, Oliver Scott, assistant to the president for special events, joined the team and offered suggestions for enhancing the interior design.
“It was an extraordinarily talented group,” said librarian Steve McKinzie. “They were people who knew how to listen, and they knew how work to reach a consensus.
“It was very much a team effort. The renovated library structure reflects that.”
Donors and the library spaces dedicated in their honor include:
– Alumni Bryan and Helen Ertl Applefield of Dothan, Ala., library patio. Bryan is a college trustee.
– Alumna Anne Blodgett Bashore of Cornwall, Penn., reading area.
– Frances C. Cannon of Davidson, study room on the main floor.
– Lois Busby Goodman of Salisbury, mezzanine. She is the widow of Enoch Goodman, an alumnus who served on the Board of Trustees for 50 years.
– Alumnus Bill Hall and wife Rosemary of Salisbury, a study room. Bill is past president of the Catawba Chiefs Club and now serves on its board.
– Frances Hedrick Johnson of Salisbury, trustee emeritus. the classroom on the main floor of the library.
– Alumnus Jeffrey Landreth and wife Margaret of Manteo, study room.
– Alumnus John H. Lewis and wife Betty of Salisbury, study room.
– Alumna Barbara L. Marshall of Cary, study room. She is vice chair of the college’s Board of Visitors.
– Alumna Edith Weant Peeler of Salisbury, the technical services area.
– Alumna Marion Purcell of Salisbury, reading area.
– Bill and Nancy Stanback of Salisbury, the information commons.
– Thirty-year Catawba employee Jacquelyn Sims, reference and circulation area of the library.