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Library deskKCKCC Director of Library Services Cheryl Postlewait has a reason to smile thanks to the installation of a new circulation desk by students in Don Balluch’s construction technology program at the Technical Education Center. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
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Old circulation deskFor 41 years, since the building first opened, this circulation desk served students at the KCKCC Library. (KCKCC photo by Debra Newton)
Old circulation desk
Anyone interested in the quality of workmanship of the construction technology students at the Technical Education Center of Kansas City Kansas Community College need go no farther than the college library.
Thanks to instructor Don Balluch and seven of his students, the library has a brand new circulation-reference desk that doubles the size and nearly triples the space availability of the old desk built when the library was constructed 41 years ago.
“I can’t tell you how very impressed I was with the students and their work,” said Cheryl Postlewait, who has worked at the library for the past 23 years including the last eight as director. “They went above and beyond in what we had requested. We did not expect the letters KCKCC to be added and we have a new gate that is inlaid and swings both ways. I think I’m most proud of that.”
“An incredible job by our construction technology students,” agreed Tamara Agha-Jaffar, vice president for academic afairs. “Made of solid oak with walnut trim, it looks absolutely amazing. Because I know this desk will last for many years to come, I have asked Machine Technology instructor Mark Moehlman to make a plaque for the desk acknowledging that it was built by students in Don Balluch’s construction technology program.”
Students working on the project were KCKCC students Angela Moore, Josh Banks and Chris Jenkins and high school students Malik Hurd of Wayandotte, Fernando Lope-Sarinana of Washington, Tremon Robinson of Schlagle and Justus Seaton of Bonner Springs along with lab aides Mike Bigelow and Van Powell.
Balluch said the timing was perfect for the project.
“We’re in the process of building a house at 56th and Leavenworth Road with the cold weather, we were needing an inside project," Balluch said. "We worked on it off and on about four weeks."
In his fourth year directing the construction technology program, Balluch said the goal is to build a house each year. The maximum number of students in the program is currently 20 but that will be expanded to 25 at the new TEC on State Avenue.
Postlewait said she’s had the desk in her budget for six years but due to cost was never able to get it approved.
“I had never thought about the construction technology program at the TEC until Dr. Agha-Jaffar suggested it last summer,” Postlewait said. “I talked to Cliff Smith (TEC dean) and he referred me to Don Bulloch. We met and I gave him our design and he said no problem other than he could not start it until spring.’
Postlewait said she was “blown away” by the quickness of the installation.
“We did not expect it to happen until June but Don came in on a Monday and said it was ready for installation, so I quickly consulted with building and grounds and library staff for a date to install. Buildings and grounds was able to come in on Wednesday and removed the electrical and the old desk. Balluch and his students came in about 10 a.m. on Thursday and it was 90 percent finished by the end of the day and finished on Friday morning.”
“The old desk was designed for the card catalogs and just did not work out well with modern technology,” said Debra Newton, circulation technical assistant who started working in the library as a student in 1992 and been a full-time staff member since 1997. “One of the main reason we needed the new desk was because of where the book return was located it interfered with the operations of the new security system.”
The new desk which boasts 50 feet of counter space (one section is 33 feet in length, the other 17) has 20 large drawers and four double-door cabinets.
“It’s so much more functional,” Postlewait said. “And what’s neat is to have students come in and stop and look.” Postlewait said a mini-open house will be held sometime in early May before the end of the spring semester.