Morse Library renovation to conclude in early summer

Beloit College’s Col. Robert Morse Library is on track to complete its $10 million renovation on budget by mid- to late-June. While the footprint is unchanged, the library will feel like a whole new building on the inside, with the utilities and interior being reworked from the dirt floor up with new brick, insulation, and glass. 

A render of the new library from the Northwest.

The renovated space will feature more environmentally conscious and technologically advanced study spots, offices, classrooms, and group spaces to encourage collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and community members. And, the entire building will be ADA accessible, thanks to shorter shelves and wider aisles in the stacks, as well as new entryways into the building.

The updated space will include a community outreach center based on the principles of the college’s Impact Beloit initiative to foster connections with the community, as well as collaborative study spaces, innovative teaching classrooms, and flexible meeting spaces.

A render of the new library from the Southwest.

Built in the 1960s and last renovated in the 1990s, the library received a $9 million Wisconsin Neighborhood Investment Fund grant in February 2022 to bring the vibrant Beloit community closer to campus, with the college committing an additional $1 million to supplement the grant. In June 2023, the college hosted a groundbreaking event attended by local government leaders and college and community members, kicking off the project.


Those on campus may have already noticed new brick on the outside of the library, or even saw a crane lifting the new HVAC system onto the library last week. Many more projects are underway, both inside and outside the building.

Much of the old interior — including electric, plumbing, and other mechanicals — have been replaced with updated, higher efficiency models. Some rooms have already been drywalled, while others are still taking shape. It will feel like a reconfigured, up-to-date space, complete with new furnishings, light fixtures, flooring, paint, and movable furniture.

In the next few weeks, a new roof will be installed, exterior brickwork completed, and energy efficient windows placed, providing more light than the original building exterior.

A render of the new library interior on the first floor, looking east.

Efficiency and accessibility

Improving the building’s energy efficiency was a top priority. The building’s new brick, insulation, and windows will work in tandem to maintain a comfortable climate for both people and the library’s collection of books and archival material.


The library will also support multiple new or significantly upgraded spaces, including two technology-supported classrooms. One will be a formal space for Impact Beloit to host experiential (designated PRAX) courses and the other is open to reserve for other classes and informal gatherings. Every floor will have an array of study spaces for students to work in different collaborative levels: completely independently, independently but with background noise, in a small group, or in a section dedicated to group work. Furniture will be adaptable and mobile to fit multiple spaces and functions. The space will also have a room to reserve for lactation, prayer, or meditation.

A render of the new library interior at a nook on the ground floor.

What’s next

Soon after the project is complete in June, the college plans to host an open house in the middle of the summer, followed by an exciting grand opening when students return in the fall.

February 22, 2024

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