Feedback Sought for Proposed Learning Commons Building

Feedback Sought for Proposed Learning Commons Building

The University of San Diego completed construction on the Paseo de Colachis right before the start of the fall 2017 semester. While Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management, Melissa Plaskonos, stated that the new central campus quad area, “is going to transform the campus,” her focus, as well as a stakeholder group of administrators, faculty, staff and students, has already transformed toward another new project: the Learning Commons building.

The building, which is to be located on the current lawn area north of Copley Library, is one of the next top priorities in the USD Renaissance Plan. Designed primarily for classroom and flexible interactive study space for the campus community, the Learning Commons space is in the very early stages of design concepts and is tentatively scheduled to be built during the 2019-20 academic year. 

The time, though, is now for campus community members to see what’s been proposed and to provide feedback to assist a Learning Commons Stakeholder Group comprised of: Vice Provost Tom Harrinton, lead stakeholder representative; Kristin Moran, College of Arts and Sciences; David Light, School of Business; Rick Olson, Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering; Theresa Byrd, Library Representative; Melissa Halter, Student Affairs Representative; Chris Wessells, Information Technology Services (ITS); Shahra Meshkaty, ITS; Lina Wallace, Student Representative; Katie Martin, School of Leadership and Education Sciences; Sara Lyon, School of Business; Eric Jiang, Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering; Sue Lowery, College of Arts and Sciences; and the USD Facilities Management and Institutional Design teams. 

Learning Commons Forum 

On September 21, a Learning Commons forum was held in the Degheri Alumni Center courtyard. Participants filled out a form with multiple-choice questions and a few for general comments. Questions included: What kind of learning experience resonates most with you? What do you think would create more activity and vibrancy at the Learning Commons? What kind of services do you think would improve the classroom experience? What kind of spaces do you think give people the best opportunity to collaborate? What qualities would most enhance your day-to-day experience in this space? 

Multiple display boards were set up in the Degheri Alumni Center to encourage visitors to write notes and leave their comments. The display boards had photos of visuals of classrooms, study spaces, a town square concept and a possible auditorium space. There’s also consideration for how the new building will connect with Copley Library and how it would affect Camino Hall, which has student housing. 

“We want input from the faculty, the students and staff to make sure we’re building the kind of spaces they’ll use and what makes sense for the future because it’s not just designing it for today, we’re looking forward,” Plaskonos said. “The Learning Commons is such a unique opportunity because it is meant to serve all students and the campus hasn’t had a project like that in a long time.”

An additional Learning Commons forum will take place Tuesday, Oct. 17, 12:30-2 p.m. in the northeast plaza area of the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice building. A presentation is also expected to be given at an upcoming USD Associated Students Senate meeting, Plaskonos said. 

“Communicating is key. If there are questions or if people want to contribute feedback, we’d love for them to contact us,” she said, offering her email address, or the general email for Facilities Management, Please include “Learning Commons Feedback” in the subject header.

— Ryan T. Blystone 

One of the next projects for the University of San Diego is the Learning Commons building, located behind Copley Library. Forums and feedback are being sought by the campus community.One of the next projects for the University of San Diego is the Learning Commons building, located behind Copley Library. Forums and feedback are being sought by the campus community.

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