L Building updated to Learning Commons


Tabitha N. Tudor

Tutoring services will move from level 2.5 to 1.5 with the installation of new furniture.

Tabitha N. Tudor, Editor-in-Chief

The Library Resource Center in L Building is now the Learning Commons, a centralized space containing library resources, the academic testing center and tutoring services.

Natalia Vargas, Learning Commons regional manager, said when Dallas County Community College District reorganized to Dallas College, the plans to transform the libraries into the learning commons were already in motion.

She said, “It just took some time for us to transfer and physically move the services to the library spaces.”

Vargas said the Learning Commons is a holistic approach to the services at Dallas College Brookhaven Campus. “The [purpose] is to offer wraparound services to all the students. The idea of the Learning Commons is to have more collaborative spaces,” Vargas said. “If you come to do some research for a paper, and you work with one of our librarians, you can use the computer and type your essay, then you also can go to the tutoring services right here.”

Recently, faculty and students have taken notice of the physical changes in L Building. Aaron Clark, a Brookhaven Campus English professor, said, “I am happy to see English return to the L Building, personally. I just feel for students and tutors because writing tutoring … [has] moved at least four times in the last few years. As long as students get help, it really doesn’t matter where tutoring is. I just hope it stays put for a while.”

Since August 2022, a section of the library on level 1.5, once lined with interconnected wooden carrel desks and accompanying blue padded chairs, remained bare until Nov. 8. Desks were removed from the building and chairs were pushed together in clusters against the wall of windows.

The empty space remained until facilities received the new furniture. After the new furniture is installed, tutoring services will move from level 2.5 to level 1.5.

Many signs telling people to be mindful of their volume, such as the one above, are posted throughout L Building.
Many signs telling people to be mindful of their volume, such as the one above, are posted throughout L Building. (Tabitha N. Tudor)

Calvin Araracap, the tutoring specialist for the Learning Commons said this was not the original plan.

He said: “Initially, we were told [the furniture] was going to be delivered in the summer. So we already moved everything out of that first section.”

Araracap said as far as the tutoring staff knew, furniture was supposed to be delivered from the West Dallas Center.

“But that got delayed,” Araracap said. “So we ended up contacting facilities to deliver some of our original furniture back. They told us it was going to be sometime in October, but obviously October is over.”

The library is an echo chamber. On levels 1.5-3 of the building, printed signs read, “Sound on this level is magnified throughout the building. Please be aware students are studying.” The internal structure of the L Building presents a challenge with the installment of tutoring services. Students receiving assistance, alongside conversations, will fill the open space. Conversations will bounce off the walls and windows which will amplify the sound on each level.

Individual study carrels are available to everyone in Room L376.
Individual study carrels are available to everyone in Room L376. (Tabitha N. Tudor)

Vargas said, “It has been a challenge to accommodate the Learning Commons because of how the building is structured. The building really makes it easy for sound to travel sometimes. I know we have all seen that signage. We plan to eventually move tutoring to [the open space on level 1.5] and leave that second level as a quiet space. There is also a room that now has individual study carrels, so that will be another place for quiet study on the upper level.”

Araracap said the previous tutoring center in the J Lab will eventually be turned into classrooms.

The old testing center is now the assessment testing center, located in Room 080 in S Building.