Take a look inside as renovations are underway at Helm Library

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Another building on Western Kentucky University's campus is going through some major changes.

Renovations to Helm Library are underway.

What used to be Java City at Helm Library is now rock and rubble, the building was leveled to be the ground on which a new era of Helm Library is built on.

Outside, external demolition is complete and inside the building, crews are finishing the work of stripping the building down to the bones.

"This is old steel you can see it was all put together with rivets," said Bryan Russell, Chief Facilities Officer at Western Kentucky University. "This is all going to be maintained and be open, it'll be cleaned up and painted."

Crews are renovating this building into what will be called WKU Commons at Helm Library, a new space that will offer multiple dining options, individual study spaces, and collaborative workrooms for students.

"It's going to have a wow factor, it's going to be different, it's going to maintain a lot of the original exterior of the building, which is historic, but the front facade of the building or the entryway is going to be mostly glass," said Russell.

Images of the renovations show a modern building, but the charm of Helm Library is its past.

"This area of the building was the original gym floor for Western Kentucky University for men's and women's basketball," said Russell.

Parts of the building date back to 1931 and in the process of renovating crews found the original hardwood floors of the old basketball court, which will be salvaged and re-purposed for use in the new building.

"The Helm and the Cravens Library have for a long time been on our capitol planning needs for a full renovation and the university has done an excellent job of taking our buildings that are existing, re-purposing them, and bringing new life for the next 50-75 years," said Russell.

Once finished, the building will have a completely new look, but future generations will have something in common with those of the past, at least one late-night study session.

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