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Cherokee County Chamber, Reinhardt partner to unveil renovated library

By Mary Leidig

Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Reinhardt University Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting reception that celebrated a transformed Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center – for its students and for the community.

“The change here is marvelous,” Chamber President Pam Carnes said at the ceremony. The renovated second floor of the library was filled with community leaders, residents, University faculty and staff, and members of Reinhardt Board of Trustees.

“Days like this are days that college presidents live for,” Reinhardt President Dr. Kina S. Mallard said, smiling. “My heart is full.”

President Mallard thanked Cherokee County Manager Jerry Cooper, the Sequoyah Regional Library System and Waleska Mayor Doris Jones for their partnership and support.

The renovation creates a multi-use space for the Reinhardt family and community. It was made possible by approval of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners to release $1 million of voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax money. SPLOST funds are 1 percent of the county’s overall sales tax.

“This renovation brings new life to Reinhardt’s library. Everything we do is for our students. My vision was for it to be a learning hub, and it is,” Mallard said.

Renovations completed this summer in the 14,411-square-foot space include a new community room, six collaborative learning rooms, children’s area, career and vocational counseling office, tutoring rooms, technology lab and more.

“The community room seats 96 people and is for everyone to use,” Mallard added.

Reinhardt Board Vice Chair Ken White, ’61, told the audience “When I was here, there were books only in the library, and it was quiet. Today we have collaborative learning as well as books, and it is just wonderful.”

Director of Library Services Joel Langford said the renovation has changed the dynamic of the library. “Students are loving the new space and the collaborative study areas. The top floor is much busier since the renovation, and we also have 20 laptop computers that can be checked out.”

“I’m just so appreciative of all our partners to help us get this done,” Mallard said. “It does take a village.” 

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