The Jackson-Tanner Commons Project is an effort by the Department of Soil Science to provide a new academic workspace where students, staff, and faculty members can interact informally in a relaxed and pleasing environment. Named after our first two faculty members to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Marion Jackson and Champ Tanner, the Jackson-Tanner Commons will be housed in Room 360 of the Soils Building.
Creativity, productivity, and community
A tour around any of the new academic buildings on campus – the Wisconsin Energy Institute, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, or Cooper Hall – will quickly show you that thought and resources are being invested in spaces that encourage collaboration. Modern academic buildings all strongly reflect a conviction that the right sorts of spaces foster creativity, productivity, and community.
The Department of Soil Science cherishes the historic buildings it resides in, but as all are over a century old, they were all built well before architects spoke of how work spaces might foster creativity. Great buildings all, but none would be built as is today!
One small step that we can take toward reconfiguring our spaces toward the ideas of the new academic workplace is creating a commons, where graduate students, staff members and faculty members can interact informally in a relaxed and pleasing environment. This is the vision and motivation behind the new “Jackson-Tanner Commons,” to be created in the Soils Building. (Scroll to the bottom to get an idea of what could be.)
Honoring our past
We chose to honor part of our department’s wonderful legacy by naming the commons after our first two faculty members to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Marion Jackson and Champ Tanner. Marion joined our faculty in 1946, was elected to the National Academy in 1986, and died in 2002. Champ was one of Marion’s first graduate students and joined the faculty in 1953. In 1981, he became the first soil scientist elected to the Academy. He retired in 1987 and died in 1990.
How you can help
Tax-deductible contributions may be made directly to the University of Wisconsin Foundation at: http://supportuw.org/giveto/jackson-tannercommons. If you prefer to mail a donation, please make your check payable to the UW Foundation – Department of Soil Science with a note of “Jackson-Tanner Commons” and mail to: University of Wisconsin Foundation, US Bank Lockbox, P.O. Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807. A two-page summary of the project is available here.
The Jackson-Tanner Commons will be in Room 360 of the Soils Building—the top floor corner room of the building on the right. This room sits at the northeast corner of Soils, with wonderful views of Lake Shore dorms and Lake Mendota to the north, and the lovely savannah and Elizabeth Waters dorm to the east, through five ample windows. With its gabled ceilings and exposed steel columns, this room reveals the wonderful architectural details of the Soils Building.
Renovation of the space will require demolition of two interior partitions, facing the walls to cover electrical conduits that now snake in every direction, and construction of the kitchenette area, including bringing water service into the room. Furnishings, lighting, paint, and carpet will complete the job. The estimated cost of the renovation is $100,000.
The conceptual renderings below show the basic dimensions and potential of the space. The final colors, furniture, lighting styles, and layout is yet to be determined and will be more appropriate to the era of the Soils Building.