Faculty and Staff Tour the Commons

Blessed with a late start to our new school year, many of the faculty were on campus for the Thursday and Friday after orientation to work and get things all prepared for the students. During those two days, the faculty & staff were given the opportunity to tour the not-quite-complete Commons, led by Chris Hartman and Ken Motsenbocker. The faculty & staff had the chance to explore each of the floors and students spaces, marveling at the beauty of how old and modern elements were co-mingled, and how even now the project is a design-build. This means that the three factors of budget, sustainability, and aesthetics are still being negotiated to decide how the spaces will evolve.




THIRD FLOOR–BCCE (Briggs Center for Civic Engagement) and CMEE (Center for Mindfulness and Empathy Education)


GREENHOUSE (off of the basement rooms)

When asked for feedback from the tour, here is what some of the faculty & staff shared:

  • “It was a wonderful tour that was a first step in helping to formulate uses for the lower level space. The top space seemed very peaceful so it seemed like a great space for mindfulness and Hospice. I liked how there is a room for reading data that is accessible to us.”
  • “Great building, but will we really let the students manage it?”
  • “I’m so proud to be part of this school; the new Commons with its blending of old craft and modern technology is just brilliant. Can’t wait to get inside it. It will help us become aware of our energy use.”
  • “One thing I noticed is the lack of outlets in the project space. I LOVED the idea of video monitor on a barn wood wall. Wonder about acoustics of the top floor in ‘the Centrum of the MS and US’.”
  • “I was impressed by the successful integration of new materials and old — the huge, weathered-but-sturdy beams, for example, help to create a warm feeling in the new structure.”
  • “I was so happy to actually see the construction….I guess I’m a concrete learner (no pun intended). By walking through the structure, I found myself growing personally excited about the activities that will inhabit those walls in the near future.”
  • “I have very few questions about the building itself at this point. It is obviously going to be a beautiful building allowing us to do things we could not do before. However, other questions tangentially related to the barn have occurred to me and others as well. It is a pretty big space, a lot to keep clean, and are we expanding the Maintenance staff? If we are financing part of the building, adding to our debt, won’t the percentage of the school’s budget going towards debt have to grow?”
  • “I have had a hard time visualizing a finished product, so this really made everything more real to me.  I can’t wait for it to be finished!”
  • “I was amazed and thrilled at the building and its potential for learning for the students. It is beautiful, so rustic and interesting to see. The tour was great for me to see what is going on in there. I am so glad we are doing this! What a great place Harley is!”

That about sums it up for now. We will be adding more photos as the building continues to grow and mature in design and construction. As we near completion, we will open the building to tour students, parents, and alumni through the spaces, too.

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