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New Learning Commons FAQ

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How long is construction of the New Learning Commons projected to last?
Pre-construction work will take place in the fall of 2024. Demolition will begin over winter break, which will run from Dec. 18, 2024 to Jan. 12, 2025. We anticipate construction will take approximately two years.

Will construction of the New Learning Commons require accommodations in SI's school calendar?
In short, yes. The 2024-25 winter break will be longer than usual so that demolition occurs when school is out of session. That break will start Dec. 18, 2024 and we will return to school on Monday, Jan. 13, 2025. Though there may be other changes to the calendar, they will be implemented with a view toward minimizing disruption for students and faculty, and if the schedule needs to be adjusted for any reason, families will be notified in advance. The 2025-26 school calendar may be adjusted based on building progress in the first year.

How will construction of the New Learning Commons affect SI's available classroom space?
Since the new facility will connect with our existing academic building, some Legacy Building classrooms on the north face of it will not be usable when construction begins. Furthermore, while some support staff who had been located in McGucken Hall will be moving to off-campus locations, others will need space in the Legacy Building and will go into both reallocated office space and one classroom.

To address these changes, we will install 12 portables on the Gordon Practice Field between the tennis courts and pool. These temporary spaces will be fully furnished with everything faculty in them may need for their classes, will have heat and air conditioning, and will be a comparable size to our existing classrooms. The classes held in the portables will be mainly junior-level courses, so there will be tables and other social amenities on the practice field in order to minimize students' trips back and forth across campus. The bell schedule will not change.

Furthermore, several faculty have embraced the spirit of the New Learning Commons and how we expect teachers will engage students in the new building by volunteering to join with a colleague to team-teach their courses in unconventional spaces, where they will meet in both large and small groups. Those classes are assigned to Bannan Theatre or the Doris Duke Wall Choral Room.

Though it may look different in these new spaces, our teaching and learning will remain at the high standard you expect from an SI education.

How will construction of the New Learning Commons affect dining services?
After abatement begins on the Carlin Commons, dining services will be offered in multiple places on campus. One location will be the newly-renovated and renamed Cat Cafe, located in the foyer between McCullough Gymnasium and Cowell Pavilion. Another location will be the concession stand at J.B. Murphy Field. Additional dining service may be added, depending on space, staffing, and demand.

As for where students may eat when the north side of campus is no longer available, there is already plenty of outdoor seating in the J.B. Murphy Field bleachers, in addition to seating on Columbus Piazza and in the Student Center. Indoor spaces that currently do not allow food will be available for lunch during construction.

Where will SI hold liturgies during construction of the New Learning Commons? After it is completed?
During construction, we intend to hold liturgies and other services in Jensen Chapel, which is located in the Student Center. There may be opportunities to celebrate in other places, as availability arises. Larger prayer services will continue to be held in McCullough Gymnasium.

How will construction of the New Learning Commons affect athletics?
SI is committed to providing our athletes a top practice and game experience through construction. Because the Gordon Practice Field will be used for academic space, we anticipate shifting some practices to the SI Athletic Complex in Pacifica and making changes to when practices are held. Athletics staff will be finalizing practice schedules this summer.

Will there be new science labs in the New Learning Commons?
The animating idea behind the New Learning Commons is that academic spaces should be flexible and encourage hands-on, collaborative, active learning. Therefore, many different types of classes, including science classes, will be held in the Learning Lofts. For lab science, we plan to maximize our space in both the Legacy Building and the New Learning Commons, taking advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves.

WIll SI offer more advanced technology curricula in the New Learning Commons?
SI already offers classes that make use of advanced hardware and software, with pathways that enable students to learn engineering and coding. The New Learning Commons will be equipped with spaces that are capable of hosting those classes immediately, with the flexibility to adapt to whatever new technologies arise in the future. Administration will continue to collaborate with departments as modern needs arise and discussions around curriculum changes take place continuously.

Will the Fr. Sauer Academy be located in the New Learning Commons?
No. The Fr. Sauer Academy will continue to use space at its current location on SI's campus.

Will SI add or lose parking during construction of the New Learning Commons? What about after it is completed?
Because of the way our campus is laid out, we do not anticipate construction vehicles and equipment will need to be on 37th Ave. Therefore, we expect that the small Jesuit parking lot on the north side of the Faculty Dining Room will be the only parking spaces SI loses in this entire process.

The new building will not include additional parking, but plans do call for additional bicycle storage. As always, because SI is in a residential neighborhood and we are sensitive to both our neighbors and larger ecological concerns, we encourage families to explore all options for getting to and from school.


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