The oldest part of Elon University’s campus is going to get a new addition.
A new commons building will be built in the Historic Neighborhood, completing a multi-year renovation plan for the area.
Plans for the new building, named the LaRose Student Commons, were officially announced during Homecoming weekend at the Board of Trustees luncheon. President Leo Lambert, joined by donor Gail H. LaRose ’64, announced that LaRose’s $2.5 million gift will be used to build a new student gathering space.
According to Brad Moore, university architect and director of planning, design and construction management, the construction could start as early as summer 2017. Moore says the timetable is dependent on completing additional fundraising.
Plans for the new building indicate that the two-story, 10,000-square-foot commons building will be built in the space next to Long Building. The interior will feature a fireplace with study nooks and a 1,200-square-foot activity room on the first floor. The second floor will include a 3,000-square-foot event space and offices for Residence Life staff.
For comparison, the size of LaRose Student Commons would make it roughly one-fifth the size of Global Commons.
The Historic Neighborhood is no stranger to the numerous construction projects on campus lately. The construction on the School of Communications’ Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion and the renovations inside McEwen Building are coming to a close this month. Interior renovations to Long Building will most likely begin this spring as well.
The construction of the new student commons coincides with the renovations of Historic’s residential buildings. According to Director of Residence Life MarQuita Barker, the plan is to renovate each dormitory in Historic Neighborhood over the next few summers. Sloan Hall was the first to receive a facelift after remodeling this past summer.
As the campus gains a new building, it will lose parking space. A large swath of parking area was eliminated by the construction of Schar Hall, and according to Moore, half of the Mooney parking lot will be lost in the construction of the LaRose Student Commons.
The timeline for Schar Hall’s construction extended well into the first half of this semester, though original plans had the building scheduled to open at the beginning of the school year. Elon associated the delays with weather interference from a particularly precipitation-heavy winter.
“Depending on when we start LaRose, we may be able to have a dried-in building before the wet season arrives, which would reduce the amount of weather delays we have on this project,” Moore said.