Renovation of the Common Ground Caf began with the addition of a new linoleum floor and plans for a new rug in the raised portion of the coffeehouse this summer.

The prolonged planning process for replacing the floor left no time for the installation of the carpet, which most likely will be installed during the fall break to avoid interrupting service.

At a total ending cost of about $10,000, the non-stick floor will not only be more efficient, but will also add to the sought after comfortable mood in the Common Ground, according to Anne-Marie Algier, Director of Student Activities and Wilson Commons.

“I would like to see us be able to do more,” Algier said. “We need to keep working on the atmosphere.”

With this in mind, jazz music, another new feature aimed at creating an enjoyable setting, will be played in the Common Ground. To further improve the atmosphere, the lighting has been lowered. Other ideas that may be implemented in the future include couches and the addition of student artwork on the walls.

These improvements would add to the variety of features already present in the coffeehouse, which include wireless connections and events such as the Friday Night Live performances. All of these components are intended to contribute to the coffeehouse feel.

“I think students like it,” Algier said. “It’s a well used space.” Student ideas for further changes are encouraged, and any feedback can be sent to melissias @sao.rochester.edu.

Student response about the renovations is varied. “The floor is easier to clean, but it also makes it more cafeteria-like,” sophomore and Common Ground employee Colin Lucey said. “It’s a good coffeehouse atmosphere, but it’s not a college atmosphere.”

“Its attempt at being a coffeehouse is unsuccessful,” junior Johnny Cardenas said.

Other students like the renovations. “The carpet was really dirty ? it’s a lot better now. I also like the lower lights,” sophomore Wendy Ressmann says.

“It was cozier before, but it’s cool now,” said sophomore Isis Delorbe, who says that she enjoys going to the caf with her friends. “They should have pictures on the walls to make it more like a caf.”

Other students were completely unaware of the changes. This opinion seems to be prevalent among students in the coffeehouse.

“The only thing I really noticed was the lighting,” junior Melissa Davic said. “I like the lighting, it makes it easier to study.”

“The overall atmosphere is darker and more industrial,” senior Romeo Galang said. “As much as I like the lighting during dinner time, it seems out of place during the day.”

The coffeehouse is currently run by ARAMARK. Algier has been happy with the company’s reaction to the renovations, saying, “ARAMARK has been very responsive. They’re willing to work with us on this kind of thing.”

As for the rumors that the Common Ground may be converted into a Java’s, a company that runs coffeehouses on other college campuses including Rochester Institute of Technology, Algier says, “[ARAMARK is] well versed on college coffeehouses. I think it’s something the university will work on in the future.”

Murray can be reached at cmurray@campustimes.org.



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