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Montco Recognizes Commons for Planning and Design Excellence

For the second time in two years, a new Ursinus College building has been recognized by the Montgomery County Planning Commission with a prestigious award for planning and design.
HomepageNewsMontco Recognizes Commons for Planning and Design Excellence

The commission bestowed the Montgomery Award to college officials for the Schellhase Commons during a ceremony on Wednesday, November 17, at the John James Audubon Visitors Center at Mill Grove in Audubon, Pa. The award recognizes and promotes high quality planning and design within Montgomery County, as well as the commitment of municipalities, organizations, and professionals to the county’s enhancement.

“Ursinus is proud to receive this recognition from our Montgomery County neighbors,” Vice President for College and Community Engagement Heather Lobban-Viravong said. “We consider the Schellhase Commons a community gateway, which means that it not only connects generations of Ursinus families who are visiting our campus, it serves as our welcome center for hundreds of friends from our neighboring towns across the county and beyond. The Commons is that shared entry point between college and the broader community, and we are thrilled to be part of such a vibrant region.”

The Commons, which was officially dedicated in honor of assistant professor of religion, wrestling coach, and executive secretary for the alumni association Richard T. Schellhase ’45 and his wife, Kay Kerper Schellhase ’57, in October, was completed in 2020 and officially opened last fall. Its 17,305-square-feet, which incorporates Keigwin Hall on Main Street, includes the Café 2020 coffee shop and a college bookstore.

Read more about the dedication here.

The commission said the Commons was recognized for “successful adaptive reuse, creative architectural and site design, and significant community impact.”

Ursinus also received a Montgomery Award in 2019 for the Innovation and Discovery Center, which opened in 2018 and has been a hub of interdisciplinary research ever since. The IDC was Ursinus’s first building project in 14 years and now the college has received accolades for two construction projects that have changed its footprint and have promoted advances in academic and community collaboration.

The annual Montgomery Awards Program promotes awareness of outstanding design and innovative planning in the county community by recognizing successful land developments, revitalization efforts, open space enhancements, environmental sustainability and transportation improvements, as well as the citizens and organizations that have made significant and sustained contributions to planning. This marked the 54th anniversary of the program, and 227 awards have been presented for project throughout Montgomery County during that time.

Among those to receive the award on behalf of the college were Lobban-Viravong, President Jill Leauber Marsteller ’78, P’18, Interim Vice President for Advancement Ava Willis-Barksdale, and Associate Director of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations Annparke Sullivan.

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