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From Ideation to Implementation

The ultimate goal of this project is to transform the existing George T. Potter Library to include a vibrant knowledge commons that will enable students to learn and study more effectively by incorporating new technologies and methods of creating scholarship.

Follow the story below and learn more about how you can be a part of the project here!

2015

In December 2015, the Faculty Assembly Library Renovation Task Force (FALRTF) was formed and charged to (1) prepare a white paper with detailed quantitative and qualitative data on the current condition of the Library, (2) draw comparisons with libraries at competitor institutions, and (3) present its recommendations to the Faculty Assembly for approval and, upon approval by the FA, for presentation to the President’s Cabinet.

2016

In January 2016, the Board of Trustees approved the submission of a capital request for state bond funds for renovations to the George T. Potter Library and the addition of a learning commons.

In April of 2016, the FALRTF issued its Final Report. Included in its report was a recommendation to the College to assess the feasibility of remediating the current Library space and, depending on the feasibility of renovation, it further recommended that the College immediately pursue funds to remediate, upgrade, and expand the current facility, or else build a new facility that is closely aligned with best practices. The report’s recommendation aligned well with the College’s Campus Facilities Master Plan which also articulated that the Library merited renewal and expansion as a Learning Commons in order to better serve students and to also function as a new and high profile main entrance to the Phase 1 Academic Building.

George T. Potter Library

In June 2016, significant support for the project was secured through the State of New Jersey Higher Education Capital Financing Grant Program for Ramapo College.  $15 million was awarded for the renovation of the George T. Potter Library and for the addition of a new Learning Commons.

In September 2016, President Mercer established the President’s Library/Learning Commons Task Force. The Task Force was charged to routinely engage with their respective stakeholder groups, design professionals, and others to inform and shape the form, function, and aesthetic of presented plans and designs.

The President’s Library/Learning Commons Task Force includes:

  • Roark Atkinson, Assistant Professor, School of Humanities and Global Studies
  • Beth Barnett, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • Cathy Davey, Vice President of Institutional Advancement & Executive Director of the Foundation
  • Sara Gazzillo, Executive Assistant to the President (Recording Secretary)
  • Ryan Greff, Commuter Student Representative (Advisory)
  • Leigh Keller, Associate Professor & Librarian
  • Erin McKenna, Immediate Past President, Student Government Association
  • Peter P. Mercer, College President, Task Force Chair
  • Steven Perry, Dean of the School of Contemporary Arts
  • Stephanie Scheeler, Director of Special Events and Presidential Facilities
  • Elizabeth Siecke, Dean of the George T. Potter Library
  • Timothy Babasade, Director of Client Services
  • Susan Vallario, Secretary, Board of Trustees
  • Melissa Van Der Wall, Dean of Students
  • Kirsten DaSilva, Vice President of Administration and Finance (Advisory)
  • Representatives of Ramapo’s Capital Planning Team (Advisory)

On November 21, 2016, the Board of Trustees approved a tentative budget for the project with defined funding sources and shortly thereafter, the President’s Library/Learning Commons Task Force began its work in earnest.

2017

Summaries of the President’s 2017 Library/Learning Commons Task Force Activity:

On December 11, 2017, the Board of Trustees approved the plan to take Linden Hall off-line as a residence hall and use as swing space for the Library.

2018

In December 2018, the design team presented the design package to the College for review and  it was later approved.

2019

In May 2019, the College issued the following summary of the project:

Our ultimate goal is to transform the existing George T. Potter Library into a vibrant knowledge commons that will enable students to learn and study more effectively by incorporating new technologies and methods of creating scholarship.

The most successful libraries provide a variety of flexible learning environments and high-quality experiences for both individual and group study while co-locating library, information technology, and other academic support expertise. To satisfy these expressed needs, the library renovation and addition will include spaces on all floors for both individual and collaborative learning and feature several new student and faculty-orientated services, including the College’s Information Technology Services, a newly-created makerspace, an expanded Special Collections, and enhanced space for Reference and Research Services.

In addition to several new conference rooms and two informational literacy classrooms, the library will add over twenty technology-rich group study rooms to be used for screening films, conducting group presentations, one-button studio recording, video conferences, and remote learning. Since library users are often immersed in their work for hours on end, a wide variety of comfortable seating options will address user preferences for lounge, study, and computer-intensive activity.

Additionally, the facility will also receive a thorough replacement and contemporizing of the building’s aging systems, including upgrades to the building envelope to address thermal performance and water infiltration issues and increase access to daylight and views, while maintaining the building’s slate panel facade, which is an iconic feature of the campus’ historic core buildings. When completed for the 2021 fall semester, the Learning Commons will not only enhance the College’s current exceptional academic curriculum, but it will also be a feature component of the College’s educational mission for many decades. Construction will begin in August and is scheduled to be completed in the Fall of 2021.

August 2019: Construction begins. For periodic construction updates on the Library/Learning Commons Project, please visit the Capital Projects site.