Cornell's town square

Plans refresh/reinvent The Commons

The Commons brims with renewed vitality, and the changes are just beginning.

New plans call for sweeping changes to the building’s upper-level entryway, along with a major two-story addition in the rear. The designs being developed by RDG architects promise to give the campus’ town square a more central role as a place to socialize, recreate, dine, learn, and find goods and services.

When visitors enter the front of the building, they will find a larger and more prominent bookstore. This upper-level renovation will also revamp the information desk, while providing a spacious entryway, lounge space, and private dining rooms.

The new addition at the back of The Commons will feature a 3,200-square-foot multipurpose room capable of seating 200 people. The room will be configurable for various uses, including meetings, lectures, dances, and catered events. The addition will also provide four to seven rooms available for both classes and meetings.

Last year nearly 7,500 separate reservations were made for space in The Commons. The wide range of activities included classes, Family Weekend and Homecoming events, the Student Symposium, fairs, dances, concerts, political rallies, board of trustees meetings, and blood drives.

Once the renovation is complete, The Commons may even take on a new role as a conference center during summers, with Cornell’s two new residence halls providing modern, private, and airconditioned lodging.