The Sunderland Foundation has given Carroll College $300,000 toward continued renovations of the Jack and Sallie Corette Library and Simperman Learning Commons, college officials said Friday.
Carroll President John Cech said these funds will help the college transform the library from a traditional structure into a living, flexible space for student work.
“By integrating new technologies, the experiential learning and creative exploration enabled by this new hub will support cross-disciplinary work and create a learning environment in which intellectual curiosity will flourish,” Cech said in a news release.
The grant will help with phase two renovations to the library's main floor. The college began the first phase of a two-phase project with the renovation of the building's lower level in 2018. Upon completion of the lower level in 2019, Carroll surveyed students and faculty and also reviewed usage of the building to guide the final phase of renovation, college officials said.
Students and faculty said they wanted a technology-enabled, re-structured space that is more collaborative and innovative.
The renovated main floor will feature an open floor plan conducive to interaction, group study and engagement among library staff and students, college officials said. Moveable chairs and tables, lounge-style seating, and private study areas will provide flexibility.
A digital innovation center is proposed to include a 3-D printer for modeling in various disciplines, and supplies for creation of objects in both arts and sciences. The Sandbox, an existing room that allows students to network their laptops and display shared work on the walls, will be improved.
A digital innovation center will be part of this new center for experimentation on campus. The building will also provide a space for late-night and early morning study for those who need that scheduling.
Carroll officials said these upgrades will create a model academic library and a regionally unique facility.
The Kansas-based Sunderland Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Ash Grove Cement Co., which had one of its 12 cement plants in Clancy prior to selling it to a Dublin, Ireland-based company in 2018.
Its mission is to improve quality of life by reinvesting in the communities where the Ash Grove Cement Co. operated. In 2003, Carroll College received the foundation’s first gift to higher education in Montana – a $10,000 grant for the Civil Engineering Building.
This newest grant is in addition to the over $4.2 million Roy Simperman, a Carroll class of 1962 graduate and chairman and CEO of Semaphore Corp., and his wife Frances, have gifted to the college since 2015 for the transformation of the Jack and Sallie Corette Library and Simperman Learning Commons.
“The tremendous generosity of Roy and Frances Simperman have paved the way for others such as the Sunderland Foundation to recognize the importance of providing state-of-the-art space and technology for our students to thrive and learn in a collaborative and innovative environment where they can then bring those experiences into the professional world,” Cech said in a news release.