On Wednesday, June 7, the official Instagram page of Lawrence University announced that they were introducing an off campus living-learning community. Located west of campus on College Avenue and just east of the Appleton City Hall, the City Center Plaza is being leased by the university and redeveloped into the Fox Commons.
President Laurie Carter said that the Fox Commons will be a robust learning space that will have meaningful partnerships with Gener8tor, Mosaic Health Center and Prevea Health center. Lawrence University is occupying the second and third levels for a fifteen-year lease, as stated by Vice President for Finance and Administration Samir Datta. On the Fox Commons website, the new development is expected to be a 3-story space with 180,000 square feet in total.
According to Carter and Datta, the second floor of the Fox Commons will be focused on fields of business and entrepreneurship. There will be a finance lab, a multipurpose room and a stage to practice performing pitches. This floor will be in partnership with Gener8tor, a business incubator, which will integrate students from the classroom into real world businesses.
The Fox Commons is also collaborating with Mosaic Health Center and Prevea Health on the third floor. This floor is intended to help students open their horizons to various health professions and prepare students for medical school. The Fox Commons website has added that its goal is to attract the community and businesses that offer health and wellness services including fitness, behavioral health, medical health and nutrition.
Furthermore, Datta and Carter added that the second and third floors will be turned into residential spaces for 170 upper-year students. The second floor, along with the business and entrepreneurship focus, will house apartment-style living spaces for 80-90 students. This space will be ready for students to use by fall 2024. Meanwhile, the third floor will be ready for use by the fall of 2025. These living spaces will vary in size — doubles, triples and quads — and will include a kitchen unit. Both the residential and learning spaces will be accessible to students with disabilities. While it is currently undecided, meal plans may be reduced for students living in the Fox Commons.
Datta said that Lawrence administration decided to build the Fox Commons, motivated by student demand for housing. He added that Lawrence’s goal with building the Fox Commons is to allow upper-year students to live in a real-world setting, which will help them transition to life after graduation.