The University Commons

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  • Architectural Rendering of Carlow's University Commons
    Architectural rendering of Carlow's University Commons to be completed in August 2015

    This spring, Carlow University President Suzanne Mellon, PhD, announced plans for the first major construction project on campus in more than a decade.  

    “Recently, Carlow has raised more money than at any other period of time in its history,” said Mellon, during her presidential address at her installation as the tenth president.  “Funding is nearly complete for the signature project of this campaign: The University Commons.”
     
    The University Commons project involves the complete renovation of the 82,500 square foot Grace Library Building on the Oakland campus, turning it into the center of campus life and learning at Carlow University. Construction is scheduled to start in August 2014 and completed prior to the start of classes in fall 2015. During construction, all services currently housed in the building will be relocated—temporarily for some services, and permanently for others. 
     
    The University Commons will integrate an array of faculty and student services that support student and faculty learning and collaboration. Amenities will include three computer labs, a café, a state-of-the-art home for the Center for Digital Learning and Innovation, study spaces, and informal, shared workspaces for students.

    Architectural Rendering of Carlow's University Commons Interior 
    Architectural rendering of Carlow's University Commons interior  

    According to Mellon, The University Commons will play a vital role in educating students, combining elements of teaching, learning, research, health and wellness, collaboration, and technological support. “At Carlow University, it is our commitment to our students that we will engage with them in transforming lives and transforming our world. The University Commons will be a transformation in the learning environment for our students. It will promote optimal student learning and the digital learning environment to deliver the 21st century learning for our students to succeed in today’s world. It will also feature innovative collaborative centers for student learning and academic support.”
     
    The University has decided to renovate and repurpose the Grace Library space, rather than construct a new building on the site because it is an effective and cost-efficient way to meet the need for a changing learning environment. By transforming an older space to suit modern needs, the University is also being mindful of issues of sustainability and conservation.
     
    When completed, University Commons will include space for:
     
    • Student Government and Campus Activities Board
    • Student clubs
    • Office of Student Affairs  
    Learning Commons:
    • Library, individual and group study areas, classrooms
    • Mercy Center (Campus Ministry, Mercy Center for Service)
    • Experiential Learning (Global Learning, Career Development)
    • Rita M. McGinley Center for Student Success (tutoring and academic support)
    • Center for Digital Learning and Innovation (digital teaching support for faculty)
    • Hopkins Communications Lab (digital learning support for students)
    Social Life and Public Access:
    • Café
    • Art gallery
    Services:
    • Bookstore
    • Post Office
    Leadership Offices:
    As part of a comprehensive campaign, Carlow has raised $23.1 million in firm commitments towards a goal of $30 million. The cost of the University Commons project is estimated to be approximately $15.7 million, and about $1 million of that total is yet to be raised.
     
    Carlow has hired three premiere Pittsburgh firms to lead the renovation of University Commons. The architect for the project is Maclachlan, Cornelius, and Filoni. The construction manager is Massaro Corp., and Kolano Design will be developing the signage and addressing complicated way-finding challenges.