In 1997, SMP designed an initial expansion to the Lamson Library, a 1960’s, three-story facility. This expansion—a major success—boosted usage and created a student hub and landmark at the south end of campus. A decade later, when the student world had completely shifted, and everyone had a laptop in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, SMP was called back to adapt the building to the times.
Lamson had originally been designed to receive a fourth floor for expansion, but two factors turned the team away from that approach: subsequent changes to the building code would have required heroic reinforcement below, and the staff already had their hands full operating on three floors. Instead, a wrap-around addition gave the building a much needed face-lift while expanding space adjacent to each department—and the iconic corner tower references several others on the campus.
Thanks to the new prevalence of laptop computers, students had moved much of their research and collaborative work sessions to the dorms—and library usage had dropped from 30,000 to 20,000 annually. To solve the problem, PSC administration created the "Learning Commons," which kept evening hours and offered a decent cup of coffee. They also moved the technical support office (where students brought their malfunctioning laptops) from the opposite end of campus to the middle of the library. SMP designed the new cafe, the tech department, and the new combined circulation/tech help center. Leaning Commons opened in 2006 and helped restore the Lamson Library as a center of activity on the campus. At completion, college administration saw the project as anchoring the south end of campus and creating a new center of energy for the community.