Dorothy W. Hightower Collaborative Learning Center and Library Transformation Celebrated
Jim Rickerson, technical services librarian; Lisa Millican, technical services assistant; Sarah Kimbrel, library assistant ; Brenda Rutherford, GIL Express/Interlibrary Library Loan/Serials Librarian; Beverly Eskridge, circulation/AV librarian; C. Thomas Hopkins, vice chair, Board of Regents, University System of Georgia; Shelley Nickel, vice chancellor for fiscal affairs and planning, University System of Georgia; Sonya Gaither, director of library services; Nancy Anderson, former library director; Beth Pye, reference/instruction librarian and archivist; Merryll Penson, assistant vice chancellor of library services and executive director of GALILEO, University System of Georgia; Paula Williams, library assistant; Max Burns, president, Gordon State College.
Despite the celebration going on around them, nursing students Christian Langley and Emmalee Drum got right down to the business of studying in the newly transformed Dorothy W. Hightower Collaborative Learning Center and Library.
“It is so open and friendly and inviting,” said Drum. “It’s great to have a place like this to study in.”
Friends of Gordon State College, officials from the University System of Georgia and others joined students, faculty and staff April 21 in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the transformation of the Dorothy W. Hightower Library to the Dorothy W. Hightower Collaborative Learning Center and Library.
For several months the building, originally built in 1978, has undergone a renovation that, while not adding more to its 35,000 square-feet, opened up the floor plan.
Now, instead of shelf after shelf of books and study carrels, students can check out books, study in one of the many group or individual study areas, top off a project in a presentation practice room or use one of the many computers that will be available.
There are also classrooms for up to 60 students, study tables with a surface that supports the use of dry-erase markers, and many areas for quiet study time.
The entrance of the library contains study space that can be used after hours.
In welcoming guests to the Center, Sonya Gaither, director of library services and professor of library science, noted that “the library has been transformed into a welcoming, open, and collaborative learning space that is undeniably breathtaking. We look forward to everyone enjoying and utilizing this space to its fullest potential.”
The original Library was named after the late Dorothy W. Hightower of Thomaston, wife of former Foundation Board of Trustees President George Hightower Sr.. Hightower, who died in 2002, served as the Foundation Board of Trustees President for 15 years before retiring in 1990. Their son George Jr., currently serves on the Board and served as president from 2009 to 2011.
“This is really a beautiful place,” said George who joined other family members for Thursday’s celebration.
Portraits of the Hightowers hang in the entrance of the building.
Joining in the ribbon cutting celebration was C. Thomas Hopkins, vice chair, Board of Regents, University System of Georgia; Shelley Nickel, vice chancellor for fiscal affairs and planning, University System of Georgia and Merryll Penson, assistant vice chancellor of library services and executive director of GALILEO, University System of Georgia.