Date: Thu, Nov 9th, 2023

Great Falls College celebrates rejuvenation of Weaver Library

The Weaver Library, named after former dean Will Weaver, right, and his wife, Nancy, who also worked at the college for many years, has been given a face-lift.

Great Falls College showcased its efforts to rejuvenate the beautiful Weaver Library and make it a hub for student life as it underwent a major face-lift this summer.

“Gone are the days of the quiet library,” said Ashlynn Maczko, Weaver Library director at the unveiling ceremony this week. “We want to hear collaboration.”

The college brought in study nooks, more comfortable seating that is equipped with charging stations and removed banks of computers that were lightly used with desks that can be raised to be standing desks or lowered to be sitting desks.

There are still study rooms that the students can check out if they are looking for a quiet space, and the study nooks provide a sense of privacy even though they are open to the rest of the library.

“It has been really gratifying seeing the increased use of the Weaver Library this semester,” said Dr. Stephanie Erdmann, CEO and dean of Great Falls College. “We had hoped this project would make the library more of a part of the daily life of the college, and it has.”

The college also moved the Academic Success Center, which offers free tutoring, and Accessibility Services into the Library. The Office of Student Engagement also moved next door to the Weaver Library.

Kathy Meier, who serves as director of both the Academic Success Center, which offers tutoring services, and accessibility services, said moving her areas into the library has helped get more students resources.

Maczko stressed the need to think about all of the students, who have vastly different needs depending upon whether they are high school dual enrollment students taking college classes, traditional age students or nontraditional students who may be working full-time and going to school full-time.

“We serve a very diverse student body,” she said. “We need to take all of their needs into account.”

The effort was part of the Facilities Master Plan, a four-step process that was the result of contributions from every area of campus staff and faculty while also incorporating student input. The plan started this summer with the library project and other efforts to maximize productivity by placing people who work closely together near one another in teams.

Next up will be relocating and expanding both the Military Family Center and the Native American Enrichment Center to the old dental clinic this summer.

“Both our existing Military Family Center and Native American Enrichment Center get the job done,” said Carmen Roberts, executive director of operations who quarterbacked the facilities master plan. “They will be much stronger when they are more centrally located.”

Both centers currently make use of old faculty offices to be study rooms that are disconnected from the main rooms of the centers.

“We have some money set aside for these projects, but we are looking to secure donors,” Roberts said.

A celebration for the rejuvenation of the Weaver Library.

The third phase is to update student central, which is home to admissions, advising, the registrar’s office and financial aid, so that it ties together more seamlessly. It also includes  looking at making the college’s beautiful outdoor spaces more of a part of student life.

The final phase, or the “pie in the sky,” as Roberts called it, is constructing student housing.

“We know that housing is an issue in Great Falls, and some of our programs are the only program of its kind in the state,” Roberts said. “How do we recruit students if they don’t have any place to live.”

Will Weaver, the longest-serving dean at Great Falls College (1985-2001) attended the event. The library is named after Will Weaver and his late wife, Nancy, who worked for Great Falls College from 1971-1996 in admissions, the registrar’s office and as a business faculty member.

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Record Number: 824