“In our classroom [in the Academic Building], we don’t have as many whiteboards, or we don’t get up individually to write on the boards or write on the smart boards,” Nadir said. “[In the Learning Commons], we have the chance to write on the boards, on the windows and be in multiple rooms if we need to. While the classroom is just cramped, in this building, we have more room to move around.”
Courtney Cooney, Head of Collections Access in Library and Special Collections, said she’s noticed more students collaborating with one another or with faculty and staff members since the Learning Commons opened.
“There are a lot of new faces,” she said.
Library and Special Collections staff moved their services to the Learning Commons, where virtual and in-person services are available daily at the third- and fourth-floor Knowledge Bars.
“The use of the space has been reconceptualized,” said Marci Euper, Library Access Services Specialist. “The Learning Commons provides more tools and space for helping us to focus on growing and showcasing the digital collection.”
In addition, Cooney said she feels more connected to students and their needs while working in the Learning Commons.
The art gallery has also sparked new interest in art and archives pieces from the KU Collection.
“Professors have proposed to use the archives and art in their curriculum, and we are working with them,” said Melanie Bazil, Curator of Special Collections.
For Lopez, seeing how great the completed building looks made those early-morning construction noises—when he lived in Thompson Hall—worth it, he said.
“It’s just a big spot to just socialize, especially during orientation. Everybody was hanging out, wandering around, meeting new people. It really just brought the whole entire campus under one roof,” Lopez said. “Everyone’s here; everyone is enjoying it, and that’s why it’s so awesome.”
The positive energy the building has brought to campus is contagious.
“I love this building,” Sweet said. “I’m so happy this is on our campus now. It makes everything feel much more modern and fresh.”