Northwestern’s blueprints for a new Learning Commons go beyond making a new library.
The Learning Commons will have two floors and a basement. The new building will hold the library’s collection, archives, 14 group and individual study rooms, a common area, coffee shop, academic support and much more.
The building is planned to be built west of the Christ Chapel on the current site of Granberg Hall and De Vries Cottage, the English department and PR offices, respectively.
“This is a complete modernization,” said Library Director Tim Schlak. “It’s a recognition of the modernization of information. With this building, we can better meet student needs. We want to keep as much of this open for student use as possible.”
As a part of the recently announced Imagine Campaign, the building will cost around $15 million. The building will house the library with added study rooms and lounges for both groups and individual work.
“This one [Ramaker] doesn’t lend itself as well to studying. It’s great for holding books,” Schlak said. “To be honest, the new one doesn’t lend itself as well to holding books. It’s not designed to just hold books. It’s meant to foster intellectual development and help students.”
Academic support will be housed in the new building with rooms available for tutoring centers. Audio/Visual will also move offices and will be able to provide private media and viewing rooms. Two recording booths will also be available.
“This is thinking about what needs students have,” Schlak said. “How can we meet those needs? The needs aren’t just books and serials.”
Sodexo will have a coffee shop in the building that will accept student flex money in the same manner as the Hub.
The newly designed building will have windows on the east and west side that allow for a tunnel of light, providing a view of Christ Chapel to the east.
“It’s a visual representation of faith and learning,” Schlak said. “It suggests the idea that the college was founded on ‘Deus Est Lux,’ which means ‘God is light.’”
The ground-breaking for the building is tentatively set to be in May 2012 and open for the 2013-14 school year.