Georgia Tech Dedicates G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons

The Georgia Institute of Technology will dedicate the new undergraduate learning commons to former Institute president and alumnus G. Wayne Clough at 9 a.m. on Sept. 24.

Clough Commons - Aerial
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An aerial view of the G. Wayne Undergraduate Learning Commons when construction was completed in August 2011. 

The G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons is a 220,000-square-foot, sustainably designed academic facility intended to enrich undergraduates’ academic environment and present innovative learning opportunities. The new facility, which adjoins to the Price Gilbert Library in the crossroads of Tech’s campus, opened at the start of the fall semester.

Georgia Tech’s 10th president, Clough – CE 1964, MS CE 1965 – was known for his commitment to undergraduate education during his 14 years leading the Institute and has been named president emeritus by the University System Board of Regents. Clough is currently the 12th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex with activities in more than 100 countries.

“To have my name linked to this remarkable building is an honor and humbling,” Clough said. “As an alumnus of this great institution, I feel as if I represent all of the thousands of alumni who went before me and those who will follow and benefit from the Commons and what it will offer Georgia Tech’s talented undergraduate students.” 

The dedication ceremony will be held on the first floor of the Clough Commons, across from the auditoria. The event, which is open to the public, will begin with remarks from several speakers and conclude with tours of the facility.

Speakers include 
Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, Senior Vice President for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Affairs Anderson D. Smith, Georgia Tech Undergraduate Student Body President Elle Creel and alumnus Al West.

Open 24/7 year round, Clough Commons is a unique and comfortable environment outside the traditional classroom where students can take advantage of hands-on, collaborative and technologically enhanced teaching and learning opportunities.

The facility boasts 41 classrooms ranging from intimate seminar settings to tiered lecture halls, two 300-seat plus auditoria, day-lit common areas with more than 2,100 seats for individual studying and group work, and modern science labs for all foundational courses.

The Clough Commons also offers a single location for undergraduate advising, tutoring, student success programs and other student-centered academic services.

The building’s sustainable features include innovative water recycling (89 percent projected reuse), 1.4 million gallon cistern, locally sourced materials, native landscaping and rooftop solar panel array – all of which Institute officials hope will result in platinum LEED certification for the building in the future.

The 347 solar panels mounted on the rooftop were designed by Suniva, a Georgia Tech start-up company based on the research and technology of Georgia Tech Professor Ajeet Rohatgi. Radiance Solar installed the panels. Turner Construction Co. built the commons.

The Clough Commons cost $93.7 million to build and outfit, $60 million of which was state funded. The building is a symbol of the Institute’s commitment to sustainable and smart growth. Georgia Tech currently has five LEED certified buildings on campus and several others going through the process.

“Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons is symbolic of Georgia Tech’s vision to enhance undergraduate education,” President Peterson said. “It also represents the heart of Georgia Tech, for were it not for the generosity of our alumni and other supporters, coupled with an investment from the state, we would not be able to have this impressive new facility.”

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