Renovations Will Bring Reinvigorated Learning Spaces to Support Student Success at UA Little Rock

A rendering by WER Architects/Planners of the finished Learning Commons project in Ottenheimer Library.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has two ongoing renovation projects this fall that will bring together academic student support centers and student success programs into two dynamic learning spaces.

The university’s new Learning Commons will be located on the first floor of Ottenheimer Library. The commons will be the new home of the University Writing Center, Math Assistance Center, Communication Skills Center, and Global Languages Center, as well as general tutoring at the university. The Learning Commons will also include rooms for small work groups, hang-out areas, and computer workstations.

“The overall design of the new spaces will be very inviting with a fresh, new, and cool look,” said Leslie Hutchins, director of planning and capital construction at UA Little Rock. “People will want to be at the Learning Commons. This is a place where students will want to spend time to study and meet and work on projects. The renovations will give the space a different feel.”

The university saw a need to increase tutoring for particular courses that are not addressed directly by the existing academic assistance centers. The new general tutoring program will be funded in part as one of the new student success initiatives implemented by a $25 million anonymous donation the university received in 2020.

Also under renovation is the first floor of Old Student Union Building B, which will be the new home of TRIO Student Support Services and the Ronald McNair Scholars program. TRIO serves first-generation and low-income students and students with disabilities, while McNair Scholars help undergraduate students explore and prepare for graduate school.

Dr. Daryl Rice, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, said that the renovations will centralize student support centers that were previously scattered across campus.

A rendering by WER Architects/Planners of the finished Learning Commons project in Ottenheimer Library.
A rendering by WER Architects/Planners of the finished Learning Commons project in Ottenheimer Library.

 

“We are very excited about this renovation project because it will make a real difference for students,” Rice said. “A student won’t have to travel across campus to visit the Math Assistance Center and the Communication Skills Center. All of these great student resources will be located within 150 yards of each other right in the center of campus. We want students to be able to go to one convenient place to fill all their tutoring needs.”

Renovations are underway at both projects and are expected to be completed during the fall semester by WER Architects/Planners. Ottenheimer Library will remain open during renovations. UA Little Rock will hold a grand reopening ceremony for the Learning Commons and Old Student Union Building B in the spring 2022 semester.

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