John Stewart Memorial Library

The intrinsic challenge of this project was integrating a new Learning Commons that responds to the 21st century student while keeping the context of a restored 1923 historic library.

March 30, 2018

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Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

To date, this Project received 2 Design awards. The intrinsic challenge of this project was integrating a new Learning Commons that responds to the 21st century student while keeping the context of a restored1923 historic library. The original 19,777 gsf 1923 library, constructed of natural limestone and terracotta block masonry, forms the College Green’s northern edge. Its 1960’s Annex is a monolithic building framed cast in place concrete columns that faces the new science building and parking lot at the north edge of campus.

In early 2011 mechanical infrastructure problems rendering it unfit for occupancy. This provided an opportunity to revisit its functionality.

After completing a Master Plan for the Library, the College chose to raze the Annex to build a new 14,473 gsf Learning Commons being respectful to the surrounding historic structures and create a multipurpose student outdoor plaza extending educational and social activities.

The new Library also provides a gallery, a Cafe, lounge, art gallery, student store, Academic Support Center, study rooms, four classrooms and a Student Commuter Lounge. The library has become the new intellectual core and heart of campus, where ideas wait to be mobilized and strengthen Wilson’s academics.

The Project received a 2017 AIA Citation Award for Excellence in Design by the Central PA Chapter and the 2017 Project of Distinction Winner from the College Planning & Management Education Design Showcase

All Photos courtesy by Don Pearse Photography

“We had high expectations when we partnered with Murray Associates Architects on the John Stewart Memorial Library. We didn’t want just an expanded library—we wanted a building that would serve as the hub of campus activity, respect our historic architecture and meet Wilson’s academic needs well into the future. Since the opening, the library and new learning commons have been wildly successful.”

Dr. Barbara Mistick President February 10, 2018


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