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At Penn, Education Commons at Weiss Pavilion

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April 3, 2012, Volume 58, No. 28

ECommons1Education Commons, a new study space for Penn students is now open on the mezzanine of the George A. Weiss Pavilion at the historic stadium (Almanac January 31, 2012); Franklin Field is not just for sports anymore.


Managed by Penn Libraries, it has open seating for 90 and room seating for 78 for a total capacity of 168; in the 6,400-square-foot, state-of-the-art study and information facility designed to support teaching and collaborative learning. A PennCard is required.

“A student who joined me for a tour of the Commons,” said Carton Rogers, vice provost and director of libraries, “was so excited about the new space, we half expected her to request seasons tickets to the collaborative study rooms. We’ll stop short of that, but students and faculty are certain to find this an inspiring place to work.”

“This new space further enlivens the eastern entrance to campus and adds a unique academic flavor to the drawing power of Franklin Field, the Palestra and Penn Park,” added President Amy Gutmann. “The Commons will encourage even more of our students to head to the Weiss Pavilion, not only to train on the treadmills, but to break out their laptops in this beautifully designed, sleek study space.”

“The Commons will be a magnet for informal study spaces, new mobile technologies, and cutting-edge wired environments that will help students study and learn together. We are indebted to Vice Provost Carton Rogers, director of the Penn Libraries; Marjorie Hassen, director of Public Services; and their entire team, especially in the Weigle Information Commons of Van Pelt Library, who have made this dynamic new space a reality for the Penn community and have done so much to bring together new ways of teaching and learning with new forms of advanced technology,” said Provost Vincent Price.

ECommons2Inspired by Weigle Information Commons in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, the facility features flexible, technology-rich work environments. A series of curved planes envelop the ceiling, and the monumental arched windows of Franklin Field visually join the interior space with the expanse of lawns and tree-lined walkways that will make up Shoemaker Green, now under construction.

The Commons offers a variety of visual design, publishing, geographic, math and statistics, Web development and digital management software as well as a multitude of media players, all supported with full wireless networking and color and black-and-white printing stations.

Within the Commons, students and faculty will have access, by reservation, to an 18-seat, glass-enclosed seminar room, equipped with a computer and an 80-inch video display (top left). Four small and four large study rooms—each with a computer and large flat panel LCD screen—can accommodate groups of as many as 10 and can also be reserved (below right). Open seating for as many as 90 is offered in banquettes and in soft furniture, providing flexibility for individual or group use (below left).

Librarians will be on hand to help students with technology and to work with faculty and University staff on program development. Also, the libraries are collaborating with academic-support services across campus to develop workshops and discipline-based programming geared to undergraduate students.

The architect was Joel Sanders of New York.

The Education Commons is on the mezzanine level of the Weiss Pavilion, and will be open seven-days-a-week: Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; visit ec.library.upenn.edu for more information, or email educom1@pobox.upenn.edu

Eric Janec is the librarian there and he can be reached by phone at (215) 746-2498 or by email at ericsj@pobox.upenn.edu

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Almanac - April 3, 2012, Volume 58, No. 28