NSCAD's Learning Commons is on the way
June 14, 2016

NSCAD student Jacqui Bush works on one of the tables for NSCAD's new Learning Commons. Photo by Pedro Ribeiro.

Imagine a space where you can gather with friends and classmates to share ideas or hold a meeting, chat over lunch, or use a computer between classes. Imagine a study, learning and research space available for the NSCAD community: students, faculty and staff alike.

NSCAD’s Learning Commons is in the works!

Throughout the winter semester, Paul Maher, the learning commons project manager, gathered feedback on what the NSCAD community wanted and needed. Faculty, staff, and student consultations were held; a survey went out; and a student focus group was convened.

All that discussion has been funneled into the plans, so that when Paul looks at the space—now filled with dust and construction debris—he can see the potential: a bright, open and comfortable room with library and technical resources close at hand. At 1,400 square feet, the space is large and light-filled: library windows framed with beautiful mouldings look over the corner of Hollis and Duke Streets. Once completed, it will be furnished with clean-lined steel-case furniture, including couches, chairs, ottomans and library tables that are being refurbished by students under the eye of NSCAD technician Donnie Thompson.

“I’m excited,” says Paul. “There is still a lot of work to do, but everything’s coming together. I’m really lucky to have a great team of students who are working with me on this.”

Earlier this month, demolition on the third floor of the library on the Fountain Campus began to open up the space, repair the walls and ceiling, and create access points near the Office of Student Services and through SUNSCAD’s offices by the cafeteria.

Journals in the library were packaged up and relocated, some to other floors and others to offsite storage. The library’s collection of exhibition catalogues was moved one floor up to the Visual Resources Collection.

“It is vital for students to have congenial learning and study spaces. Touring this space in the middle of construction, I was struck by how wonderful the environment will be,” says Dr. Ann-Barbara Graff, VP (Academic and Research). “The Fountain Gift allowed us to consult broadly on student experience.  The targeted renovation to the library to turn the second floor into a Library + Learning Commons is the first phase in this process.”

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the month and will be certainly ready when students return for the fall semester. The learning commons will be available for use 24 hours a day.