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William Rainey Harper Community College was originally established through a referendum. Fifty years later, the college was faced with a more competitive landscape and aging facilities, and through another referendum, they had the opportunity to make some needed upgrades. The Building F Library Renovation was long-awaited, and when it received the last of the referendum funds, the administrative staff could not be more excited. As such, the wish list was long, while the budget remained fixed.

Through the collaborative delivery method and creative design and budgeting process, Harper College's library received more than a face lift. From the inside out, the entire flow through the building was re-considered. And the building today looks nothing like it did before construction started.

Renovation of the three-story building included two floors of library and a floor with campus tutoring and writing center, a new main entrance with three-story atrium, monumental stair case with study platforms and new free standing elevator. The renovation also includes a build-out of intimate performance space, content creation lab, 24 study rooms, eight computer labs, six classrooms and two recording studios. Finally, the existing elevator, complete envelope and MEP/FP systems were completely replaced.

Successes included:

  • Adding 3,500 square feet of new space without an addition.
  • Transforming the entire façade instead of just a new entrance.
  • Eliminating one of two entrances, emphasizing the "Learning Link" atrium.
  • Giving students a place to gather and study between classes – keeping them engaged and on campus.

Now, Harper College serves today's students with a modern library, designed for collaborative learning and with the latest technology.

William Rainey Harper College
Legat Architects
Project Location
Palatine, Illinois
107,000 SF
Awards & Certifications
LEED Silver