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September 16, 2005 - Grand Rapids, Michigan (September 16, 2005) - Aquinas College celebrates the start of construction on the new $6.5 million Grace Hauenstein Library with an official groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for Friday, September 23, 2005, at 11 a.m. The ceremony will take place behind the College's Jarecki Center for Advanced Learning at 159 Woodward Lane S.E. (between East Fulton and Plymouth Road).

The lead gift for the project came from local philanthropists Ralph and Grace Hauenstein, long-time supporters of Aquinas College. In addition, significant financial support for the project also has come from the Wege Foundation. The library will also contain shelving and other library furnishings provided by Kalamazoo College and Steelcase.

The new three-story, 26,000 square foot addition combined with an existing 14,000 sq. ft of the Jarecki Center will bring the new library space to a total of 40,000 sq. ft., nearly twice the size of its current facility, which has served the College since 1978 from the second floor of the Academic Building.

The Grace Hauenstein Library will offer the campus community, especially students, a variety of expanded services, including a wireless technology network throughout the building and will add six group study rooms and two viewing rooms for watching DVD's and videos, neither of which are currently available in the present library. The library will also feature open media stacks, a special collections room, increased seating capacity, greater study space, additional public access computers, a digital editing suite, an expanded Information Literacy Classroom and a coffee bar. The library is slated to open in August 2006, in time for the start of the new academic year.

The library, which has been characterized as a "facility of the future," will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The facility was designed by Progressive AE, the same architectural firm which designed the Jarecki Center built in 1999. Erhardt Construction is the general contractor for the 12-month long construction project which began in August.