By Tucker Paquette
This fall marks the fifth birthday of the new and improved Learning Commons at Springfield College, an occasion that reflects a thorough renovation geared toward helping students feel more comfortable academically while on campus.
While the building is an impressive one right now, that wasn’t always the case – at least in the eyes of some members of the Springfield College community.
The current foundation for the Learning Commons building was made in 1972, but by the time President Mary-Beth Cooper arrived in 2013, it was clear that a renovation was something this school had its eyes on.
As such, in the spring of 2016, staff left the building as it went down to concrete.
“It looked like a big parking garage,” Springfield College Director of Library Services Andrea Taupier said of the state of the building at the outset of the renovation.
Everyone was let back into the enhanced building in the fall of 2017.
If that sounds like a quick project, that’s because it is. Taupier believes that the turnaround was so speedy because the project was simply a renovation, as opposed to an entire new building project.
In terms of the goals that were top of mind when redesigning the Learning Commons, by far and away the school’s biggest objective was to improve the student experience from an academic standpoint.
This plan has come to fruition, as the new library has what Taupier calls an “academic support hub” with library services, the IT department help desk, and the Academic Success Center (located on the third floor of the building).
What’s more, Taupier mentions another added benefit is how everything that is meant to fulfill students’ needs is located in the same place. This was not the case before, and Taupier is of the belief that these tools being in one central location is a convenience to students on campus.
Taupier is also a fan of the environment that is present inside the new building. For this reason, as well as the aforementioned plethora of helpful resources, the Learning Commons is a hot spot at Springfield College.
“[The building] is light and bright and welcoming,” Taupier said. “We know that students are using [the Learning Commons] a lot more than they used to.”
In addition to the academic services offered throughout the Learning Commons, there are also ample resources aimed at improving the studying experience for students.
Taupier says how faculty and students had the opportunity to share some of the things that they wanted the new library to contain, and study-related items were popular requests.
As a result of the feedback received from the campus community, a 24-hour study space was added, as was a quiet study floor and group study rooms. Whiteboards are also popular amongst students who use the Learning Commons.
Taupier believes these additions serve students well.
“Students get the services they need, but the building is [also] meeting their study needs, and that’s really important,” Taupier said.
Photo: Springfield College