Share / Discuss

Building Community: Sharples is Reimagined

Preliminary designs for a new Dining and Community Commons were shared during campuswide town-hall meetings this fall.

The project, which was approved by the Board of Managers in December, will bring to life the College’s vision for a reimagined central dining experience complemented by social space to foster and encourage community. Informed by extensive input from the campus community, including more than 500 student interviews and an additional 575 survey responses by students, faculty, and staff, the project also will significantly expand space for students to relax, socialize, and connect with one another and with faculty and staff—helping fulfill the College’s mission of educating the whole student. Such space has been missing since 1983 when a fire all but destroyed Old Tarble.

The new addition will also enable the College to increase the variety and availability of food options, lead to shorter lines, and better accommodate the size of the student body, which has grown from 1,064 students in 1964, when Sharples first opened, to 1,647 students today.

The design aims for the Dining and Community Commons to be a net-zero building. It is also a strategic piece of the College’s energy master plan: The design of the building includes a basement that can house a geothermal exchange plant to service the entire campus and enable the College to transition away from the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling campus buildings. The new facility will be completely accessible to all members of the community. To improve delivery and emergency access to the site, the building that formerly housed the Phi Psi fraternity will be torn down; the stone will be saved and used in future projects. The building formerly housing Delta Upsilon will be used as a construction office for the duration of the project work.

The Dining and Community Commons project has already received significant donor support, including through the allocation of a $7 million gift from Gil Kemp ’72 and Barbara Guss. If you’re interested in supporting the project, contact Senior Director of Individual Giving and Donor Relations Mike Gillum at or 610-328-8334