Ursinus College will soon have a new “front door” to its campus at Main Street and Fifth Avenue.
Scheduled to open during fall 2019, the $7 million, 16,805-square-foot Commons will be a welcome center for prospective students and their families and a new hub for social activity on campus, as well as a gathering space for alumni and the local community. All members of the public will be welcome to visit the Commons and make use of its meeting spaces and coffee house as Ursinus opens its doors to even more families through this new welcoming gateway.
“The Commons is a truly exciting project for Ursinus College,” Ursinus President Brock Blomberg says. “Aligning with our strategic plan, it is designed to build upon our standing as a destination campus for students and their families, faculty and staff, and for our friends and neighbors, too. This is a place that will strengthen our connection to the Collegeville community. Anyone will be able to come to the Commons and experience what makes Ursinus so special.”
The Commons represents both new construction and a renovation project. It will incorporate historic Keigwin Hall on Main Street, which will be renovated and integrated into new, adjoining construction. Keigwin Hall will transform into a coffee shop with a multi-level terrace that overlooks Main Street. A two-story addition will house a bookstore on the lower level and an entertainment space on the second floor. An adjacent terrace will look out onto the campus’s front lawn, the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, and Bomberger Hall.
Adjoining Keigwin on its north side will be a two-story college admissions suite that will also include meeting spaces for college and public use.
The Commons was designed by Philadelphia-based architectural firm Bernardon and will be constructed by Bancroft Construction Company of Wilmington, Del., Construction is expected to last approximately one year.
The Commons represents the second major addition to Ursinus’s Collegeville campus within one year. The interdisciplinary Innovation and Discovery Center, which combines science, policy and entrepreneurship under one roof, will officially open Oct. 27 during a special public event.
The Commons will stand on a portion of the Ursinus campus once occupied by a studio cottage that served generations of students in many capacities. The cottage was most recently known as Unity House and hosted programs surrounding diversity and inclusion, which are now organized by the college’s new Institute for Inclusion and Equity and located in a newly-renovated space in centrally-located Wismer Center. The institute serves to better coordinate dialogue, programming and activities around issues of equity, diversity and social justice.
Named as one of the nation’s “Colleges that Change Lives,” Ursinus College is a highly selective, residential college with 1,500 students that is widely recognized for its Common Intellectual Experience. The tree-lined, 170-acre campus is located 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia in Collegeville.