August 31, 2022 | The Alma College Learning Commons is a signature project for the College, involving a complete transformation and modernization of an existing three-story library into a state-of-the-art facility. The new Learning Commons will serve as a campus centerpiece, invigorating Alma’s mission by providing students, faculty and staff with a desirable place to socialize, study, collaborate, learn, create and live.


Granger Construction began work as the Construction Management partner on this $11.3 million project in January of 2022. Construction began in February, with massive demolition efforts lasting into May. In addition to completely gutting the interior spaces, crews also demolished the oldest portion of the building (the Stacks – built in the 1920s) to make room for a new, iconic addition, called the Beacon, which will feature a three-story, glass encased entrance space.

Now that demolition is complete, renovation work is underway.

Design Features

The design for the new spaces blends Alma’s existing red-brick, Prairie School style architectural with glass for increased visibility. Other design elements ensure the newly revitalized building will be a bright and open, welcoming ad safe space that is easy to access.

  • The first floor will feature a new café, which opens onto the Mac Mall. The College Archives and Library Special Collections will take up part of this floor, along with student organization offices. All remaining space will be lounge and relaxation areas.
  • The second, or main floor, will have a media lab and an IT help desk, a Writing Center and Academic Support. The Andison Center and the new Center for College and Community Engagement (3CE) will also have offices and use space on this floor for events. There will also be plenty of study and lounge space available. The biggest change will be a new back door that opens toward Superior Street.
  • The library books and library staff will all be on the top floor, along with quiet study space.
  • This project also calls for extensive sitework, including a new concrete mall/courtyard area outside the new addition.

Alma College Learning Commons is slated for completion in February of 2023. The design partner on this project is The Collaborative.

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