Sol Harris Day Architecture

Changing trends in higher education library design and technology made the University of Mount Union rethink their current space needs for their Learning Center that connects to the library. The spaces were quiet and solitary and had the potential to be so much more. This change in thinking brought about a plan to renovate the Learning Center into a vibrant, new café and learning commons that offers students expanded learning spaces with flexible study options.


  • Facility Assessments
  • Space Utilization
  • Visioning
  • Estimating/Scheduling
  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • FF&E

Project Goals

From meetings with a core group of stakeholders and student focus groups, a clear set of goals for the spaces were established:

  • Allow for technology to be on display
  • Clear circulation paths [both horizontally & vertically]
  • Clear circulation thru the building by opening up & connecting spaces
  • Creating flexible study & group meeting spaces

In today’s global society, collaboration is key, in the workforce, in our communities, and in our schools. As we prepare students for success in this modern world, we must help them hone their abilities to lead ably, communicate effectively, and think critically. Thus, it is imperative that we provide them with spaces on campus that foster student interaction and team work, while leveraging innovation and technology to do so.

University of Mount Union

Building Organization

Completed in 2014, the 5,300 sf Learning Center was reorganized and renovated into a new café and learning commons. The organization includes expanded group study areas and enhanced student study spaces. Students are given a choice of seating with booths lining the wall, lounge chairs close to the book shelves, and small tables with chairs surrounding them. Directly connected to the study spaces are offices for the IT Help Desk and an open cafe with small tables and booths. Open views connect all 3 areas, easily bringing them together and fostering interaction.

Interior Concept

The interior renovations expanded the learning commons and study spaces. The addition of the café helps to facilitate student interaction through the ‘power of food’ and encourage students to stay on campus. These areas were designed to enhance the student experience by offering:

  • Flexibility and a variety of furniture types for both individual and group learning/study
  • Rich textural finishes for enhanced aesthetics
  • A balance between the existing building and new renovation
  • Student workflow between the new Cafe and Learning Commons


  • Created learning commons and quiet study spaces with improved access to power and technology.
  • Improvements were incorporated throughout the spaces to reduce energy use by upgrading the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems with more efficient fixtures that take advantage of LED's, occupancy sensors and low flow fixtures.

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