In Kalispell, Flathead Valley Community College’s new, multi-million dollar library is open, offering students an array of new technology and study space.
Director of Library Services Susan Matter is showing me around the new facility. It had a soft opening on May 28.
There are community areas, a makerspace, whiteboards painted directly on the walls, a recording studio with a podcasting setup, space-ship-looking desks called “brodies,” even virtual reality.
"We have a psychology class that was studying phobias and they asked us to put virtual reality for fear of spiders and fear of heights," Matter said. "So, if you wanna experience what that’s like you can do that."
The goal here is to create what Matter calls a “third place," which is, "their place away from maybe where they work or from their home, where they feel the most comfortable."
She says the new space is geared towards making students more successful in both education and employment. The $3 million facility added 12,000 square feet onto the health sciences building, and it’s part of the Flathead Valley’s “ONE Campaign,” aimed at raising $18 million. The majority of the funding for the project came from a donation from the Broussard family.
"We greatly appreciate all the support this community has provided us," says Jane Karas, president of the community college. "The space went beyond my wildest dreams. It will meet the needs of our students and our community far into the future."
The remainder of the fundraising campaign is for a new, 50,000 square-foot College Center.
All community members, not just students, are welcome at the library. The facility’s ribbon-cutting ceremony is Thursday at 4 p.m.