Revealing the Renovation

What do people think about the new Commons?

Greeting students on the first day was a new sight; over the summer, a shiny new commons replaced the previous gathering area. 

The remodel—featuring a more open concept and all-gender bathrooms—displaced several offices and posed additional challenges for the student body, including longer lunch lines and a less accessible College Counseling office.

Despite these, students and staff members now enjoy many of the benefits that come with a larger community space, made possible by a more open commons.  

“I…like the big windows on the patch area. I think a lot more light comes in through there,” Director of Diversity E-chieh Lin said.

“Looking at the P-Patch, that is very nice,” senior Kedzie Moe said, “I really hope it would start snowing at some point so we can all watch it snow from here.”

Community members, however, have differing opinions on the aesthetics and feeling of the new commons. 

Commons Café director Felicia Lindholm feels like the new commons is a drastic improvement.

“The community space, the feel of it feels like you’re in someone’s living room instead of school or an office,” Lindholm said. 

The consensus among both staff and students was that their favorite part of the new commons is the lighting.

“It’s super bright. I really like how it keeps me awake when I walk through,” Lin said. 

“I love how much natural light we now have, and I think that when there’s more light, and there are more windows, it provides a more uplifting space and environment,” Director of College Counseling and Student Services Kelly Herrington said. 

Besides making the commons more aesthetic, lighting has scientifically shown to be beneficial to student learning. A study done by the Heschong Mahone Group in 1999 found that “students who were exposed to a larger amount of daylight in their classroom had higher math and reading test scores.” 

Not everyone is so enamored by the new look.

“It looks like an Ikea,” Moe said.

“The new commons is a little too white…a little color would be nice,” sophomore Aidan McHugh said.

Due to changes to the commons, several offices moved. 

With Herrington’s office being a combined office and conference room, it becomes difficult when he has to juggle between college counseling and catering to college visits.

“I feel like sometimes the meetings with students are a little bit disjointed” Herrington says. 

Moving the college office has even impacted students.

“It just seems temporary, plus they took away that room in the back that I used to chill out in and be late for physics in all the time,” McHugh says. 

Additionally, the diversity and community office moved last year to make room for the new commons meeting room.

“I’m actually excited to see students walking through now, because most of them will actually stop and talk to someone instead of just use this as a thoroughfare,” Lin said. “[But] I think for some of the students, they feel less like, this is a private space for them.”

 While not everyone loves the new commons, Moe offered an explanation as to why.

“I do miss the old commons, but I think that it’s just because I was so used to that space and it had been here for six years,” Moe said.