BY JACOB TROXELL
As one presidential candidate might say, “this one is huge.”
It’s the largest building in the history of Salisbury University, and it’s opening in the 2016 fall semester.
The $117 million Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons (GAC) will host an additional 12 classrooms, 18 group study rooms, a 400 seat assembly hall and a 24-hour cafe study area, among other facilities open to the SU campus and community.
The GAC will be one-third bigger than the Teacher Education and Technology Center, and four-times larger than Blackwell Library, which will be removed after construction of the GAC is complete. The cafe will also be two-times the size of Gulls Nest.
“This area is really going to be the heartbeat of the campus,” Associate Vice President of Facilities & Capital Management Eric Berkheimer said. “This building will be transformational for the campus.”
The Nabb Research Center, along with The Center for Student Achievement, TRiO and the University Writing Center will move into the GAC.
It has also been designed to be a LEED gold building, meaning it will be energy efficient in more ways than one, and part of that includes 32,000 square-feet of green roof space that will eliminate the amount of runoff from the project.
Additionally, each floor will be home to many different areas.
- The first floor: After coming in from one of three entrances, (from Red Square directly underneath the new Samuel L. Brown Carillon, the Henson Lawn or the parking lot next to Route 13) this floor will contain the Library Service Desk and IT help desk, a two-story cafe and a gathering space.
- The second floor: This will be home to The University Writing Center, TriO and The Center for Student Achievement, but will also group study rooms similar to the ones in Perdue Hall along with the Graduate Commons, the Office of Instructrual Design, the Faculty Center and the Math Emporium.
- The third floor: Part of this floor will be surrounded by soundproof glass to create a quiet area for students, while the rest of it will contain library collections.
- The fourth floor: The Nabb Research Center, a climate-controlled archival storage, a board meeting room for the president and other campus meetings will be available, along with more exhibit space on the top floor.
- The Carillon: The 147-foot bell tower will be the tallest structure on SU’s campus. weighing in at 27,655 pounds, the 48 bells together will be set to ring each hour. Berkheimer says it’s also possible someone could perform a concert in the bell tower. The bells are being cast by the same company that cast the Liberty Bell.
Other equipment in the GAC available to students will include 450 new computers and a 3-D printing station for class projects.
Berkheimer says there will be all kinds of relaxed and professional seating for students in the GAC, which will be the only academic building on campus that will have part of it open 24 hours a day.
SU is also requesting 25 to 30 additional staff positions from the state to fill the jobs needed in the 221,037 square-foot building.
If you want to see more pictures inside the Academic Commons, visit “thesuflyer” Snapchat story.