Library Renovations to Introduce Learning Commons
The initial phase encompassed focus groups, a facility review and an interactive design charrette to introduce mobile computer, group collaborative and other 21st century student learning features into Murray Library. An analysis of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sprinkler systems, as well as code and accessibility reviews identified opportunities for energy efficiency, occupant comfort and accessibility improvements. The subsequent renovations incorporated Learning Commons into the existing infrastructure and involved flexible design concepts that could be implemented through a multi-phased process.
“RLPS successfully organized a team to integrate Learning Commons Spaces while allowing the library to remain functional with the bulk of the work occurring during the summer.”
Kathie Shaffer, Vice President of Operations; Messiah College
Breathing New Life Into Multiple Areas
The design solution reconfigured the main floor to provide an enlarged “Barnes and Noble” style café and informal study area at the front door. This area has electrical power and wireless internet access throughout and includes a number of collaboration stations that support a range of group gatherings and meetings. Two multi-seat media tables in this area include an integrated audiovisual system that allows students to plug in their laptops for viewing on the flat panel display at the end of the table. Opposite the café is one of three “touchdown” station areas to support student walk-up use for email retrieval, library catalog review and web surfing.
Both floors include new group study rooms with laptop connections, flat panel display and built-in sound system and controls for group collaboration and meetings. Numerous informal private and group work tables with power and internet connections are also provided throughout.
Meeting Current Needs with an Eye to the Future
This update project, funded in part through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), provided needed space for complementing programs, such as testing and learning /writing centers, to be assimilated into the library. The expanded student run cafe, Cafe Diem, helps to keep students and staff on campus, provides student employment and now serves as a valuable revenue resource for the College. To enable Messiah College to adapt to continually evolving technologies, the Learning Commons areas utilize modular furnishings in lieu of built-ins to accommodate future updates as needed. The design solution also envisions a future mezzanine level to function as a quiet study area.
Award: American School & University Architectural Portfolio Outstanding Design
Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography