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Renovations Will Expand Coffeehouse

By Rima Arnaout


The 24 Hour Coffeehouse will undergo renovations this summer, expanding into adjacent office space on the third floor of the Student Center.

The renovations, scheduled for completion by the fall, will include building a modular stage and lounge with a pool table. The serving area will also be changed.

Staff workers hope to keep the lounge area during the summer while renovations are in progress, said Associate Director Ted E. Johnson of the Campus Activities Complex.

“The Task Force report, the report on dangerous drinking, and the report on improving dining have all focused on having late night hours for relaxation and socialization and ... we knew right up front that the Coffeehouse is the perfect place to start those initiatives,” Johnson said.

The improvements will cost $345,000, according to CAC Director Phillip J. Walsh. The Class of 1999 pledged $15,000 toward the Coffeehouse renovations, with the remaining $330,000 will be funded by MIT’s Committee for Review of Space Planning. The proposal for CRSP funding had been submitted by ODSUE and was approved about two weeks ago, Walsh said.

The architect firm of Meyer & Meyer has been working with CAC for the past year to draft plans of what the expanded Coffeehouse would look like. Although the process is not complete, the current plans show a pool table area where the W20-311 office is now, and a stage against the wall.

The CAC decided to put the pool table in the back “to create the noisy atmosphere at the farthest end, so we don’t interfere with people who like to use the Coffeehouse for study,” Johnson said, adding that the Coffeehouse will be outfitted with ethernet drops, “but not enough to make it a cybercafe.”

The stage will make the Coffeehouse more amenable to performances and other programming, but “it’s not that we’re going to have so much programming in the Coffeehouse that people aren’t able to come in and hang out,” Walsh said.

Student reaction to the renovations has been positive.

“I’m looking forward to the Coffeehouse’s having more space and more corners” for people to sit with their friends, said Coffeehouse worker Amanda V. Wozniak ’03.

“Plus a pool table is such a bonus. It makes the Student Center more like a student union and less like a shopping mall,” Wozniak said.

“I mostly study here, but sometimes they have performances here and it’s fun to watch,” said Till P. Rosenband ’01.

CAC has been working with its advisory board, made up of students and faculty, to come up with ideas for the new Coffeehouse. As the project proceeds CAC will also involve the Coffeehouse managers and the student CAC Program Board.

The Coffeehouse is managed by students as a part of the CAC, Walsh said, and that will not change with the renovations.

The Coffeehouse was created in 1972. In the late 1980s it underwent improvements that were part of a greater Student Center renovation. Related stories:

Spotlight of the Week: The 24-Hour Coffeehouse
Tuesday, May 11, 1999