| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper, president of Springfield College, credited a recent graduate, Rocco DiStefano, as being the inspiration behind the new Learning Commons.
Ground was officially broken on Oct. 14 for the $19 million addition to the college’s library that will provide 24-hour, seven-day a week access to resources to help students study.
Cooper said at the groundbreaking that DiStefano, a football player who graduated this year with a degree in sports biology. She recalled how DiStefano repeatedly explained to her how students needed a quiet place to work and that the hours at the college’s Babson Library just weren’t flexible enough.
Cooper said of him, “He has as much persistence as I’ve ever seen in a student.”
The addition to the library will be completed by August 2017 and available to use for the students attending the fall semester. Among its features will be 6,000-square-foot Reading Room on the first floor open 24-hours. There will be a technology support station, located near the entrance, will offer personalized assistance to students and faculty.
The area known as “The Hub” will be on the second floor. It will feature two flexible media work stations designed for informative, evaluative, and generative group work sessions; Approximately 1,200-square-feet of adaptable space, known as “The Forum,” that can easily be rearranged to host classes or presentations; and the research consultation area, which will be used to have interactions among users.
On the third floor, the new Academic Success Center will avail more students to the wide array of academic services available and allow the staff to expand their outreach to a more diverse group of students.
Student Trustee Troy Ward said, “Generations of students to cone will benefit from the Learning Commons.”
Board of Trustees Chair Greg Toczydlowski said the new building is a physical sign of the progress made by the school that accompanies the advances made by the school in the annual U.S. News and World Report evaluation of the nation’s college’s and universities.