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CopyTech Occupies MIT Museum Space In Student Center

Chun Hua Zheng -- The Tech
The now-vacant space formerly occupied by Newbury Comics may become a new dining area or social area for students.

By Christina Chow
Staff Reporter

For the first time since its renovations a decade ago, the Stratton Student Center is changing dramatically. This summer, both Newbury Comics and the MIT Museum store choose not to renew their leases.

Coupled with basement renovations already under way by two Information Systems locations that will release an additional space, there are three vacancies to fill this coming term in the student center.

The Copy Technology Center will replace the MIT Museum in its first floor space this fall. Peter Cummings, business manager of the Campus Activities Complex, said that the MIT Museum store wanted "to retrench their business up the street. CopyTech was well prepared to come in and have spent a lot of time revamping their services including weekend and evening hours."

Student desire for a copy center was confirmed by a recent Planning Office survey that identified a copy center as a major student need.

"We were well into plans with moving the CopyTech before the survey results came out, but [this] reaffirmed our thoughtsand made us feel good," Cummings said. CopyTech, which already has two locations on campus, has signed a five year primary lease with a five year lease option. CopyTech will likely open around October 1, said Philip J. Walsh, director of CAC.

Newbury space up for grabs

For now, the retail space vacated by Newbury Comics has not been filled.

One possibility was identified by the dining review working group when it reported that students felt there was a significant "lack of seating to support food areas." said Walsh.

In addition, the Undergraduate Association is currently campaigning for the Newbury Comics vacancy to be used as a social area for students. In May, the UA passed a resolution determining that whenever major renovations were made to the Student Center, the UA would involve itself in the changes, "to try to make the Student Center more of a student center," said UAfloor leader Ryan K. Pierce '99.

"The idea is to make the Student Center a central location for social interaction." Pierce added.

The UA, partially working on recommendations by the working group on dangerous drinking, wants to make part of the Student Center a social area by installing jukeboxes and ping-pong and pool tables among other things.

"The Graduate Student Council is behind the idea and [the UAExecutive Committee] has been talking to members of the administration, and they seem supportive of the idea," Pierce said.

In the past, the Student Center has featured a bowling alley in the basement, which was taken out during renovations in the late 1980s.

Since the space is part of the MIT real estate portfolio, the UA "is trying to take an open-minded approach, letting people have input, seeing how much support there is for the idea," before settling on one final product. UA representatives will meet with Cummings and Walsh today to further discuss these possibilities.

Video store possible in basement

One last vacancy will be opening up in the basement at the end of this month. Athena Online Consulting, the Microcomputer Center help desk, and PC repair will be consolidating their offices this month, Cummings said. As a result, an additional space will be opened in the Student Center.

One concept that CAC is investigating is "the video store concept, which we've looked into several times over the years," including the idea of "vending machines for video tapes that I have seen working on other college campuses," said Walsh.

Said Walsh, "Our interest is to move forward and try to fill the spaces since it does no one any good vacant."