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Hendricks Center to Give New Life to Former Beloit Public Library

June 24, 2009

James Sanger, chair of the Beloit College Trustees, today announced the College’s plans to transform the former Beloit Public Library, located on the corner of Grand Ave. and Pleasant St. in downtown Beloit, to a Beloit College educational facility for the arts that will enhance the life of the community. The 48,000 square foot structure is a gift to the College from Beloit business leader Diane Hendricks and her late husband and Beloit College trustee, Ken Hendricks.

Hendricks Center
From left:Chair of the Beloit College Board of Trustees James Sanger, businesswoman and donor Diane Hendricks, City Manager Larry Arft, and Interim President Dick Niemiec’65 in front of the College’s newest educational facility in downtown Beloit.


The announcement of the creation of the Hendricks Center was made at a press conference, on Tuesday morning, June 23, at 10 a.m., in the park adjoining the Beloit landmark structure, which served earlier as a U.S. Post Office. Joining in the announcement were Beloit College Interim President Dick Niemiec, members of the Hendricks family and the Hendricks Group and Beloit City Manager Larry Arft.

The new educational facility, which will house the College’s music and dance programs and other campus educational activities, became available when the Hendricks Group assumed sole ownership of the original Beloit Mall and began to transform it into a community resource, renaming it the Eclipse Center. The city was able to purchase the former J.C. Penney’s department store at the south end of the Eclipse Center, and move the Beloit Public Library to the renovated and enlarged location, offering improved facilities, access and services. As part of the arrangement, the city transferred ownership of the original downtown library to the Hendricks family who, in turn, gave it to the college as a completed new facility. The gift to the college includes the structure and renovations.

“The Hendricks family has once again expressed confidence in the future of Beloit – both the city and the college” noted Sanger in his comments launching the final design and renovation phases of the downtown project.

“The new Hendricks Center is contained in a wonderful landmark of downtown Beloit that has served the community well for decades and now will gain a new life, serving new generations both in the community and at the college. Located at the heart of Beloit’s downtown, it will fulfill the Hendricks family’s dream of creating a state-of-the-art education center for the teaching of these important art forms and one that will tie the College and the community together. This unique structure, with its studios, teaching areas, and public spaces, will match the finest arts education facilities available at the leading colleges in the nation, expanding Beloit’s arts offerings and educational opportunities. Through outreach programs and workshops, it will also augment the arts offerings available to young people in the community and help to inspire a new generation of artists and audiences.”

The College’s interim president thanked Diane Hendricks and her associates for their generosity and flexibility in bringing the project to fruition and noted that he was looking forward to retuning to Beloit for the opening of the new facility at the start of the 2010 academic year. Niemiec will conclude his interim presidency later this month and President Scott Bierman will assume the presidency in mid-July.

“The Hendricks Center is a superb example of the generosity, cooperation, and unified vision that has helped to build and sustain Beloit. It will join the new Center for the Sciences as a defining element of Beloit College’s 21st century campus, attracting students and outstanding artists and faculty, and inspiring a new generation. It will evolve over the coming years into one of the most important centers of its kind in the region.”

Following final design work, renovations are scheduled to begin this summer. The building is anticipated to be ready for summer programs next year with college classes starting in August 2010. Joe Stadelman of Angus-Young Associates is the architect on the project. Corporate Contractors Inc. is serving as the general contractor.