Following Central Missouri's 1996 Homecoming Parade the ground breaking ceremony which formally set in motion the building of the new James C. Kirkpatrick Library was held. University President Ed Elliott and James C. Kirkpatrick were joined by Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan and Kala Stroup, Commissioner of Higher Education, for this formal gathering to celebrate the beginning of construction for the new $30 million facility. Located on the south side of campus at a site near Clark Street and Missouri Avenue it will replace Ward Edwards Library.
Actual construction began in March of 1997, and is expected to be complete in March, 1999. With a foundation the size of a football field the library will comprise about 196,000 square feet. The current library is a facility with 140,000 square feet, but only 110,000 of it usable floor space.
The new three-story building will be state-of-the-art, in keeping with Central Missouri's state mission in professional technology. The library will offer more electronic information services, more computer work stations, more network connections for notebook computers, access to more information resources, and collaborative learning facilities such as group study rooms and small computer labs. Students and faculty will both benefit from multimedia presentation facilities. Other faculty benefits include increased instructional resources and research materials and additional faculty study and research carrels. Through electronic access to many of the library's resources the library will be accessible to the people of the state and beyond. Distance learning facilities will also bring Central faculty closer to students across the state without actually having to be at the same location.