Alkek Learning Commons plans approved by Board of Regents

Jayme Blaschke | August 16, 2018

Alkek Library
Changes in digital technology and learning principles guided the design of a new Learning Commons project for the Albert B. Alkek Library at Texas State University.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved the design development documents during its quarterly meeting August 16 in Lost Pines.

The project, designed by BRW Architects of Dallas, has an estimated cost of approximately $8.3 million, with funding coming from new Texas State University System revenue bonds. J.E. Dunn Construction of Austin has been selected to manage the project. Construction will begin in fall 2018 and substantial completion is expected by spring 2020.

"The emergence of digital technology and 21st-century learning principles is requiring an evolution in the design of library spaces," said Ken Pierce, vice president for information technology. "The culture and purpose of these spaces will keep our libraries relevant for decades to come. We are excited to be taking these necessary next steps for the Alkek Library."

The project is a response to shifts in how students utilize the library and services it provides. The renovations will re-purpose space on the first, third, and fourth floors as an expansion of the existing second floor learning commons. The second floor will also see the addition of a full-service café with indoor and outdoor seating. The learning commons will augment the existing capabilities of the library as it addresses the current generation of students' extensive use of the internet for research and education.

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

The most visible changes on tap include a consolidated customer service area, which will streamline and simplify locating research materials and checking out equipment. Computer stations will support both patron- and library-owned equipment, with convenient printing kiosks. Existing niches and alcoves throughout the library will be repurposed as meeting and gathering spaces, providing as much seating as possible. 

Specialized "centers," however, will be the most impactful change. First, a maker-space area will provide students the ability to construct functioning prototypes using 3D printers, numerical control machines and other manufacturing equipment. An "x-reality" center will be home to virtual, mixed and hybrid reality capabilities, and a Geographic Information System (GIS) center will provide state-of-the-art capabilities in geospatial design and research. Additionally, a digital design center and video/sound production studios will be constructed.

Display areas showcasing artwork by students, faculty and other artists will provide a visually engaging final touch to the project.

The learning commons initiative follows an earlier library renovation project concluded in 2017. That renovation included repairs and upgrades of electrical, information technology systems, some mechanical infrastructure components and removal and replacement of the lower level roof, paving the way for the current learning commons plan.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents is the governing body for Texas’ oldest university system, which comprises seven institutions: Lamar University; Sam Houston State University; Texas State University; Sul Ross State University; Lamar Institute of Technology; Lamar State College-Orange; and Lamar State College-Port Arthur.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922