First-year Clovis Community College student Mark Garza of Clovis works on a research paper Wednesday at the Dr. W. D. Dabbs Library. CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth.
By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer
First year Clovis Community College student Mark Garza didn’t like the school’s old library.
The space was cramped, he said, and the technology was outdated.
Wednesday afternoon, the liberal arts student studied at one of 18 new computer stations at the new Dr. W.D. Dabbs Library located just a short walk from the main campus building. Garza said he spends about 10 hours each week in the new facility.
“I love these computers and I will totally take advantage of them even though I have a computer at home,” he said. “This environment makes you study harder — it is so quiet.”
The 26,000-square-foot library has been open since January but to celebrate “Community College Month,” school and city officials held the ribbon cutting dedication Wednesday before about 150 people. Construction began on the building in September 2002 and honors the former chief of staff at Clovis Memorial Hospital.
The $4.575 million building features expanded office space, group study rooms, elaborate artwork and increased space for study. The 18 Gateway computers and additional catalog stations are an improvement from the old library, which had only four computer stations.
Library Director Debra Anderson said the group study labs are the building’s greatest asset. The previous library, located at the heart of the main building was loud and uninviting.
“The acoustics here are much better,” Anderson said. “We didn’t have any windows, so now we know what the weather is like.”
All the library’s amenities are not complete. Mike Schmidt, CCC vice president for finance and human resources, said a “Cyber Cafe” food court should be operating by fall term.
School President Beverlee McClure said the building is the cornerstone of a 20-year master plan for structural improvements at the college. A 25,000-square-foot Allied Health Center for nursing, radiology and paramedic students is next in line and could begin construction sometime next year.
About $200,000 was donated to the project by way of rooms, cornerstones and walkway bricks named in honor of businesses owners and individuals who contributed to the college.
“So many people in the community have a piece and ownership in the facility and I think that is one of the first buildings of its kind in Clovis where people actually have a piece of it,” McClure said.
Student Government President Gina Martinez said a portion of student fees are put toward the library and students volunteered to help move books and aide the setup.
Student feedback, she said, has been positive.
“They love being here and they don’t want to leave,” Martinez said. “It’s like one of those places where you come here and you like being here.”