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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 16, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 7
Countdown to Celebration

Bookstore manager Paul Lynch gets the store ready for its opening on Saturday, Oct. 21. The 29,000-square-foot facility includes a coffee bar on the first floor.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Bookstore opening caps off Charles Commons; dedication on Saturday

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The students have moved in, the facility hums with midsemester activity, and now the university will officially dedicate Charles Commons, the new residential and retail complex located in Charles Village.

The event, to be held on Saturday during Family Weekend, will honor the many people who played a pivotal role in the facility's creation, including donors, university administration, community representatives, architects, developers and dozens of JHU staff members. It will also celebrate the much-anticipated grand opening of Barnes & Noble Johns Hopkins, the new university bookstore that will replace the one located in the basement of Gilman Hall.

Charles Commons, a two-wing, 313,000-square-foot facility located on the corner of North Charles and 33rd streets, officially opened on Sept. 1, when it welcomed its first residents, 618 Homewood upperclassmen.

The 29,000-square-foot Barnes & Noble bookstore on the facility's ground floor is set to open Oct. 21. The two-story space will feature general retail services — books, magazines, a coffee bar and Johns Hopkins paraphernalia — on the main floor and textbooks for Homewood courses on the second floor. Johns Hopkins-themed murals and notable quotes will decorate the entire store, which will stock close to 500,000 books and magazine titles and have a complete children's department.

Paula Burger, dean for undergraduate education, said the bookstore is expected to become an anchor for the area's retail services and a hub of social activity for the community.

"The bookstore will certainly add to the quality of life here, not just for Johns Hopkins students but those living in the immediate area who are very excited to have such an amenity in their community now," Burger said.

The Charles Commons site was master-planned by Ayers Saint Gross, which also conceived the building's early architectural design concepts. Design Collective provided the final design for the building, whose host of amenities include a dining hall, music rooms, a library, a high-tech laundry facility, common kitchens, lounges, study areas and a fitness room.

Burger said that the additional spaces, many of which will be named and dedicated on Saturday, were made possible by generous financial support from individual donors, including alumni and several parents of past and present Johns Hopkins students. She said the university realized early on in the project that it needed additional funding in order to make Charles Commons a truly dynamic and multifunctional facility.

"We had a significant gap to bridge from the room revenue we would receive to the overall cost of the building. We determined that to not include the social and common spaces would cut the heart out of the project, and so we made a commitment to engage private philanthropic support," Burger said. "We were very gratified by the response from donors who were willing to help us fulfill our vision and make this truly handsome building a reality."

To date, the university has raised $6.4 million toward the $10 million goal for the Charles Commons project.

Specifically, the JHU Parents Fund, whose annual campaign supports student life initiatives and extracurricular activities, has pledged $2 million to the project over eight years. Donors who give $5,000 or more in a given year will be honored on a donor wall in the building's 33rd Street lobby.

The Charles Commons dining hall, quickly becoming the top hangout on campus, has been named Nolan's on 33rd in recognition of a generous gift from Johns Hopkins alum David Nolan '71 and his family. Nolan is the father of Justin Nolan '04 and Adrienne Nolan '07. The facility, housed on the third floor of Charles Commons, features not only a diverse menu but a dramatic fireplace, billiards tables, a performance stage and informal study areas.

In honor of a gift from Jim Winter '70 and his wife, Susan, the university will dedicate the Winter Library, a study space on the building's first floor. The Winters previously supported a practice room in the Mattin Center.

The Batoff Lobby, Charles Commons' stunning Charles Street entrance, was named for Steve and Carol Batoff '76, whose gift honors their sons, Justin Batoff '07 and Jeremy Batoff '09.

A gift from Tseng Jan and Kayo Hsu made possible the Hsu Music Practice Room on the third floor. The Hsus are the parents of Annie Hsu '05 and Jenny Hsu '09.

Two of Charles Commons' group study rooms, which are located throughout the facility, have also been named in honor of parents: John and Denise Ward, parents of Alison Ward '06, and Joe and Elizabeth Mandato, parents of Sarah Mandato '04.

Parents made several other significant financial gifts, a portion of which went to purchase original artwork for the facility. The pieces, many of which were selected by Burger, were chosen to depict the use of the space where they were hung or Baltimore City. For example, a portrait of a young woman playing the violin was hung outside the music rooms, and a painting of the Domino Sugar factory in the Inner Harbor hangs in the Winter Library.

The dedication ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the facility's third-floor ballroom. Following the ceremony, tours of Charles Commons will be given.


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