Administration says Learning Commons will be ready for business on first day

Construction+of+Marywood%27s+Learning+Commons+nears+completion.

Photo credit/ Brigid Edmunds

Construction of Marywood's Learning Commons nears completion.

Brigid Edmunds, News Editor

Anyone who looks through the windows of the new Learning Commons might be skeptical that it will be ready to open on the first day of school. Boxes are stacked around the building, dust covers many walls, and stairwells appear blocked and unfinished. But, administration says the building will be ready for student use on August 24–for the most part.

Vice President for Business Affairs, Joseph X. Garvey, said that aside from the café and the Communication Arts department, which is located on the terrace levels, the rest of the building’s construction is on time, noting that only minor “glitches” have slowed construction.

“It’s always nerve-racking because there’s always last minute things to be done,” Garvey said.

The Learning Commons’s central component, the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), is fully functioning and ready for student use, although Garvey says the ASRS might not be as popular as originally thought since “most students do not take books out from the library anymore.”

“[Students] research through their laptops or iPads and if they need something specific … Although the university envisions some use for the ASRS, it probably will not be as heavily used as libraries in the past,” Garvey said.

The slight delays in construction have caused some headaches for instructors trying to schedule rooms for classes. Dr. Erin Sadlack, associate professor and chair of the English department, explained that several English 160 classes had to plan for alternate rooms, in case the Learning Commons classrooms were not ready for the first day of classes.

“My understanding is right now we’re confident that the Learning Commons rooms will be available,” Sadlack said.

Students are still encouraged to check the portal for any changes in classroom locations Monday morning.

The communication arts department also suffered some setbacks during construction, because, according to Garvey, shipping of parts for the new facilities was delayed. The radio and television stations will not be operational during the first week of school.

Coordinator of Broadcast Affairs, Ernie Mengoni, said the plan is to have everything up and running within the next few weeks, in time for the dedication on September 8.

“I’m hoping this is completely done by next week.” Mengoni said. “I don’t know if it will be, but that’s my hope.”

Director of Library Services, David Schappert, and Assistant Vice President for Buildings and Grounds, Wendy Yankelitis, could not be reached for comment.

When campus opens on Monday morning, Garvey assured that there will be a positive reaction from students, faculty, and staff.

“Everyone will be quite pleased,” Garvey said.

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