The Phyllis and Charles Self Learning Commons to break ground 2018
More than bricks and mortar – designed for inspiration, learning, persistence and success
- A welcoming learner-centered facility that incorporates library, instructional technology, collaboration and study spaces, and learning centers that support students in math and English success
- Total project cost $35.7 million
- 65,328 gross square feet
- Construction begins early spring 2018; expected completion summer 2020
- The Learning Commons will be WCC’s first state-funded capital project since 2004, during which time student enrollment has grown 16 percent
Services within WCC’s Learning Commons will engage students through tutoring, multi-media resources, quiet and collaborative (loud!) study spaces, and tools to conduct their own thoughtful research. These activities encourage critical thinking and creativity - crucial skills as students prepare for a successful career. Active engagement with academic resources in a space filled with natural light and designed for productive interactions will inspire students to learn, persist, and succeed.
The first floor will include a multi-media center for students and faculty, the writing center, computer services, study spaces, and food service.
The WCC writing center provides nearly 3,000 tutoring sessions per year, helping students grasp the art of composition, refine papers, and organize presentations. The writing center is adjacent to media services to allow students to integrate technology to communicate ideas through print, video, and audio systems.
The second floor will be home to a 21st century library to serve WCC’s growing student population, baccalaureate programs, and excellence in teaching and learning.
With over 16,000 square feet, the library will serve over 200,000 patrons per year - averaging more than 1,000 people per day during the academic year. The larger space expands collaborative and quiet study rooms, adds additional space for library reserved materials and reading rooms, as well as bibliographic classrooms. The library will also host space for the Bellingham Public Library, improving service to residents in northern Bellingham.
The third floor will be home to tutoring services for students, testing, and collaboration spaces with one of the best views on campus. Tutoring center services offered will expand by 300 percent with the new Learning Commons.
During the academic year, 75 percent of the more than 13,000 free tutoring sessions happen at the WCC math center. The math center often reaches standing room only with current space. The Learning Commons will allow for additional sessions and customized services for students who have specific needs.
Veterans: The Learning Commons will provide more space for general tutoring as well as quiet private locations that are better suited to meet the needs of veteran students. A pilot program that served veterans in a quiet location improved their average GPA from 2.35 in summer 2014 to 2.81 in winter 2015. Small breakout sessions in the Learning Commons will provide the perfect space to grow this program to help WCC veterans students achieve academic excellence in an environment that works best for them.
STEM tutoring: 10 percent of math center patrons are there to master chemistry, biology, physics, and computer science. The Learning Commons was designed with tutoring space and resources committed to serving science, engineering, and computer science/computer information systems students.
Serving disabilities: Breakout spaces will provide opportunities to serve students with disabilities in a quiet, less distracting environment. The Learning Commons will provide the space to serve their individual needs.
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