John Stewart Memorial Library and Lenfest Learning Commons

Murray Associates Architects, P.C.

Project of Distinction 2017 Education Design Showcase

John Stewart Memorial Library and Lenfest Learning Commons

Project Information

Facility Use: 4-Year Institution
Project Type: Renovation
Category: Libraries/Media Centers
Location: Chambersburg, PA
District/Inst.: Wilson College
Chief Administrator: Brian Ecker, VP of Finance and Administration
Completion Date: October 2015
Gross Area: 34,250 sq. ft.
Area Per Student: 28.17 sq. ft.
Site Size: .835 acre
Current Enrollment: 1,216 students
Capacity: 417 students
Cost per Student: $21,739
Cost per Sq. Ft.: $277
Total Cost: $9,500,000

John Stewart Memorial Library and Lenfest Learning CommonsWilson College is a private liberal arts college in Chambersburg, PA. The original historic 1923 Gothic library and its attached 1960s mundane annex were closed for infrastructure problems. A study revealed the need to provide a new Learning Commons by razing the annex for a new addition.

The historic building was stripped down for comprehensive systems analysis and restoration. All due care was exercised to maintain and address contextual appropriateness with forwardness of thinking, sustainability, technology, security, materials, lighting, and furniture.

The intrinsic challenge was designing a contextually sensitive new building while restoring the historic building cohesively. A new curtain glass stairwell connects the two buildings. The traditional and modern materials and forms knit the two buildings together effortlessly.

John Stewart Memorial Library and Lenfest Learning CommonsThe completed library is a direct result of the unique needs of the college. It is a new destination on campus for student interaction, access to technology, and support services. “Smart” classrooms, group study rooms, computers, printers, academic support services, commuter lounge, art gallery, café, college store, and a multipurpose outdoor plaza were introduced.

The library is now the new intellectual core at the heart of campus and is the first and last stop for all student and visitor tours.

Judges Comments

The exterior of this building is lovely. They did a nice job of blending the new building with the historic structure. Nice use of exterior wall of original library as an interior passage.

John Stewart Memorial Library and Lenfest Learning CommonsArchitect(s):

Murray Associates Architects, P.C.
BENEDICT H. DUBBS JR., AIA, RA, LEED-AP
717/234-2581