The Information Commons (IC) at Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus underwent many changes over the summer.
The IC Reopens Its Doors After Refresh
The Information Commons on Loyola’s Shore Campus underwent major interior renovations over the summer, reopening for the semester’s start. The IC was closed from May 15 to Aug. 21 to make room for new carpet and furniture.
Senior project manager Carrie Clark said the IC was refreshed based on student feedback to provide a variety of study spaces.
“Not just here but on a national level, what people look for is a variety of options,” Clark said. “You don’t just want one form of all the seats. You want a space that you can be by yourself and alone. And then there’s sometimes where you want to be alone but with others, so maybe you want to sit at a table that’s by yourself, and there could be someone else working, but you’re not together.”
Student feedback was taken in May 2022 using poll boards in the IC during finals week.
Clark, along with IC director Paul Voelker and dean of libraries Marianne Ryan, took this feedback into consideration when creating the new design.
Forward Space, a furniture and workspace solutions company, executed the furniture decisions to match the design plans.
The new layout has received mixed reactions from students, but second-year student Moriah Billingsley is a fan of the renovations.
“I love the carpet, I love the chairs,” Billingsley said. “I like that the desks have the blockers so I don’t have to see the people across from me because I get so distracted.”
Etinosa Imalele, a fourth-year biology major, agrees.
“I think the goal here was just to keep up productivity,” Imalele said. “And I like the color. It goes really well with the view outside.”
Everything from the color scheme to the carpet was intentional, Clark said. The gray and blue carpet was used to blend into the lake based on how the carpet looked in previous years. The carpet also includes fractal patterns which are said to reduce stress, according to Clark.
While time will test the carpet’s ability to destress college students, those already utilizing the IC such as third-year students Lucia Malfeo and Josh Henley have opposing thoughts surrounding the accessibility of group work spaces.
“There’s room for studying by yourself, there’s room for groups,” Malefo said. “I think the setup for individuals is the same, but there’s more room for groups.”
Henley, on the other hand, recognizes the new layout as being fit for individual study.
“It’s more individual, especially with the computers now that there’s the space between them,” Henley said. “That definitely makes it feel like it’s more independent.”
He is not the only one who thinks the new IC is geared toward independent study. First-year Teagan Wilcox shared his sentiment. She said the new layout is not group-oriented and would be best for a single study space.
First-year Paige Dalton agreed there was a lack of table space. She said it’s often difficult to find available tables so she opts for studying outside of the IC instead.
The IC still has seats for 575 people, only 25 less than before the renovation, according to Clark. This is due to the new private modular seating on the first floor, which was once home to tables and chairs.
“I feel like they strategically placed where independent studiers and group studiers would be,” Imalele said. “Because the way they modeled these tables is completely different from what it was last time when they had Y-shaped tables and you could put people together like that.”
Aside from the conflict between group and independent study, Imalele expressed her concern about the lack of charging outlets.
Clark said the IC will eventually have the same number of power towers as before as well as power strips within the desks — the pieces are on backorder.
Featured image by Holden Green / The Loyola Phoenix