Skip to Content
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Exploring a New Learning Commons at Ramapo College of New Jersey

Ramapo students, faculty and staff have started to use the recently opened Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons as the college transitions into the new space during the fall 2021 semester.

"The Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons is the result of a bold idea, the kind and thoughtful nourishment of that idea by its namesake, and a comprehensive team effort that we so deservedly recognize in this new incredible space. This project was a seedling in 2015. That seedling took root, it grew, and it will bloom, I am sure, for generations of future Ramapo students."
Ramapo President Cindy R. Jebb

Following a comprehensive renovation and expansion of the former George T. Potter Library, the new Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons provides new technologies to support evolving student needs and offers a variety of light-filled spaces for individual and collaborative study that feature inspiring views of the adjacent mountains. The process of transforming the existing library into a vibrant knowledge commons started in late 2015 when the College began to analyze the building in concert with the campus master plan and formed recommendations for creating new spaces that better served student needs.

While aligning with the original design of neighboring buildings at the center of campus, the new slate and glass façade is designed to provide enhanced thermal performance and weather protection for a 100-year building life, as well as increase daylight and a stronger connection to the surrounding landscape. Inside, the new design re-envisions connections between programmatic elements, resolving challenges with the former library’s insular, self-contained zones and a sprawling physical collection that sacrificed seating and collaborative space.

Locating the majority of the collection to the lowest level within a hybridized arrangement of standard and compact shelving, as well as moving periodical and reference material online, provided much needed space for new uses. Interconnected areas for individual and group study, digital media labs, classrooms, and support services address the diversity of ways students learn, study, and engage with each other. Technology-rich group study and media rooms support a variety of uses, from screening films and conducting presentations to facilitating easy studio recording and remote learning. A new focal point and hub of activity on campus, the Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons enhances Ramapo College’s academic curriculum and will be a feature component of the College’s educational mission for years to come.