Lees-McRae College, Dotti M. Shelton Learning Commons

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McMillan Pazdan Smith provided design services to renovate Carson Library into a learning commons, now named The Dotti M. Shelton Learning Commons. The project began in May 2016 and included new and updated classroom spaces, enhanced technology, and new collaborative study rooms.

The renovation transitioned the outdated library interior to a modern social center and information hub for students and staff. Our design, along with the furniture and book stack arrangements, allow students and professors to enjoy the natural light shining through high windows of the open-concept building. Varying lengths of cylindrical pendant lights above the two-story commons area create a cluster of floating lanterns. Mod orange and green couches occupy the majority of the lounge space on the first floor, and to the left of the room sits a custom-built information desk embellished with hand placed stones echoing the building’s exterior. The redesigned retail area, “Provisions on Demand,” provides convenient grab ‘n go dining options. The lounge space and rows of books are divided by an updated staircase and a metal and wood centerpiece that invites students and visitors to venture upstairs. Reading chairs and tables lead visitors to new glass-encased study rooms, group collaboration spaces, and active learning classrooms. With state-of-the-art technology and expanded learning and research programs, the Learning Commons is the new center of student interaction on campus.