Ursi­nus to de­but new ‘front door’ to cam­pus

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

COL­LEGEVILLE » Ursi­nus Col­lege will soon have a new “front door” to its cam­pus at Main Street and Fifth Av­enue.

Sched­uled to open dur­ing fall 2019, the $7 mil­lion, 16,805-square-foot Com­mons will be a wel­come cen­ter for prospec­tive stu­dents and their fam­i­lies and a new hub for so­cial ac­tiv­ity on cam­pus, as well as a gath­er­ing space for alumni and the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

All mem­bers of the public will be wel­come to visit the Com­mons and make use of its meet­ing spa­ces and cof­fee house as Ursi­nus opens its doors to even more fam­i­lies through the new wel­com­ing gate­way.

“The Com­mons is a truly ex­cit­ing project for Ursi­nus Col­lege,” Ursi­nus Pres­i­dent Brock Blomberg said. “Align­ing with our strate­gic plan, it is de­signed to build upon our stand­ing as a des­ti­na­tion cam­pus for stu­dents and their fam­i­lies, fac­ulty and staff, and for our friends and neigh­bors, too. This is a place that will strengthen our con­nec­tion to the Col­legeville com­mu­nity. Any­one will be able to come to the Com­mons and ex­pe­ri­ence what makes Ursi­nus so spe­cial.”

The Com­mons rep­re­sents both new con­struc­tion and a ren­o­va­tion project. It will in­cor­po­rate his­toric Keig­win Hall on Main

Street, which will be ren­o­vated and in­te­grated into new, ad­join­ing con­struc­tion.

Keig­win Hall will trans­form into a cof­fee shop with a multi-level terrace that over­looks Main Street. A two-story ad­di­tion will house a book­store on the lower level and an en­ter­tain­ment space on the sec­ond floor.

An ad­ja­cent terrace will look out onto the cam­pus’s front lawn, the Philip and Muriel Ber­man Mu­seum of Art, and Bomberger Hall.

Ad­join­ing Keig­win on its north side will be a twos­tory col­lege ad­mis­sions suite that will also in­clude meet­ing spa­ces for col­lege and public use.

De­signed by Philadel­phia-based ar­chi­tec­tural firm Bernar­don and con­structed by Ban­croft Con­struc­tion

Co. of Wilmington, Del., the Com­mons will be built to Lead­er­ship En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign (LEED) sil­ver stan­dards, fea­tur­ing two green roofs and show­cas­ing Ursi­nus’s pledge to en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to last ap­prox­i­mately one year.

The Com­mons rep­re­sents the sec­ond ma­jor ad­di­tion to the Ursi­nus Col­legeville cam­pus within one year. The in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary In­no­va­tion and Dis­cov­ery Cen­ter, which com­bines sci­ence, pol­icy and en­trepreneur­ship un­der one roof, will of­fi­cially open Oct. 27 dur­ing a spe­cial public event.

The Com­mons will stand on a por­tion of the Ursi­nus cam­pus once oc­cu­pied by a stu­dio cot­tage that served gen­er­a­tions of stu­dents in

many ca­pac­i­ties.

The cot­tage was most re­cently known as Unity House and hosted pro­grams sur­round­ing di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion, which are now or­ga­nized by the col­lege’s new In­sti­tute for In­clu­sion and Eq­uity and lo­cated in a newly-ren­o­vated space in cen­trally-lo­cated Wis­mer Cen­ter. The in­sti­tute serves to bet­ter co­or­di­nate di­a­logue, pro­gram­ming and ac­tiv­i­ties around is­sues of eq­uity, di­ver­sity and so­cial jus­tice.

Named as one of the na­tion’s “Col­leges that Change Lives,” Ursi­nus Col­lege is a highly se­lec­tive, res­i­den­tial col­lege with 1,500 stu­dents that is widely rec­og­nized for its Com­mon In­tel­lec­tual Ex­pe­ri­ence. The tree-lined, 170-acre cam­pus is lo­cated 25 miles north­west of Philadel­phia in Col­legeville.

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