An Oasis of Learning

Note: This article originally appeared in the 2018 summer edition of Carroll Magazine and has been adapted for the web

by Candace A. Cain, '82 | Interim Vice President for Advancement



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In a move to better meet the needs of our students, Carroll College’s nearly 40-year-old library is undergoing a transformation into a state-of-the-art resource and study center renamed the Jack and Sallie Corette Library and Simperman Learning Commons. With the 21st century student experience evolving to be more collaborative and innovative, it requires that study spaces and technology resources reflect these new ways of learning.

Renovating the existing library into the Corette Library and Simperman Learning Commons will not only transform learning at the college but it will establish the library as the “hub” of the student academic experience on campus. The intention of the remodel is to create the best possible learning environment for Carroll students, including social spaces, collaborative work settings, quiet individual study areas, technology access, and staff support.

Photo of Learning Commons Main Floor
Learning Commons Staircase View

This project is rooted in the college’s vision of the library as the foremost expression of Carroll’s commitment to providing students with the best possible educational, research and resource environment. This re-visioning of the Corette Library will create an inviting and innovative learning center where students can engage with each other, support staff and faculty, and find space for individual or group study.

The Jack and Sallie Corette Library and Simperman Learning Commons has been a dream of the college’s for over ten years, and through a very generous commitment by our lead donor, Roy Simperman, class of 1962, it is well on its way to becoming a reality. Designed by Mosaic Architecture and managed through Dick Anderson Construction, both of Helena, Mont., the project will be completed in four phases to ensure that the library will continue providing essential services as well as much-needed classroom and study space throughout construction. Phase I began in May 2018 and focuses on renovating the lower level with new and remodeled study spaces, creating the Center for Professional Communication (CPC), and redesigning archival space. Phases II–IV include adding a café, gallery space, and classroom and study areas while also renovating the upper level and administrative spaces.

In today’s environment, we have to use technology to enhance and more efficiently deliver information, knowledge and learning. I am excited that Carroll has taken up the challenge to create a learning and study environment that is responding to the needs of today’s students. The re-visioning of the library provides an excellent opportunity for the college to stand out among its peers and continue to attract the best and brightest to Carroll’s campus. I am pleased to be supporting a project that is enhancing the academic experience of our students. — Roy Simperman, '62

In Phase I, the CPC is the signature feature as it will transform teaching and learning across campus. At Carroll College, our educational foundation is built on the liberal arts and educating students in mind, body, and spirit. As such, we recognize that graduates entering the workforce must be prepared not only in their field of study, but also with additional skills such as written and oral communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. The CPC creates a one-stop shop for students to strengthen their writing and speaking skills while also introducing digital enhancement to communications skills. Rather than a center of remediation, the CPC will challenge students to push the boundaries of communication by offering cutting-edge technology and highly trained peer and professional mentors.

The CPC space has been carefully designed to serve as both collaborative and independent study space when not scheduled for support services, which allows the entire lower level of the library to be dedicated student space. During the planning process for the Corette Library and Simperman Learning Commons renovation, which included listening sessions and input from students, staff and faculty, we have remained committed to transforming this space into a student-centered building, where students take ownership of their education. In this space, learning will become visible as students personalize their intellectual and often social environment to fit their needs. Flexible furnishings will encourage students to design their study space, whether they seek collaboration or independence in their approach to learning.

Phase I is expected to be finished in winter 2018 with the goal of having the Jack and Sallie Corette Library and Simperman Learning Commons entirely completed by the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year.

We are immensely grateful to our generous donors who are making this project possible. We especially want to thank and acknowledge Roy Simperman whose vision challenged Carroll to think bigger and more boldly about what the future can look like for our students.

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To see photos and learn more about this exciting addition to Carroll College, visit the Simperman Learning Commons page.