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Coffeehouse move will expand space

By Hallie Jordan     2/3/11 6:00pm

By the first day of classes next year, Coffeehouse will open its doors from a new location - the Kelley Lounge in the Rice Memorial Center.Coffeehouse has been looking to relocate since 2006, Coffeehouse Project Manager Erin Rouse said. Last semester, the RMC management offered the student-run business to move into the Kelley Lounge. After architects examined the space, Coffeehouse received the final go-ahead from the administration last week.

Coffeehouse will move into the back of the Kelley Lounge. The final structure will include the space where the Women's Resource Center is currently located as well as the two study niches right next to it. After a semester of examination, the architecture firm working on the project said the space is usable and can be renovated with plumbing and additional electrical outlets.

Rouse is working with architects, as well as Facilities, Engineering and Planning, to determine the design of the new structure.

"Since this part of the RMC was built by architect Cesar Peli, there are certain regulations about how much you can change design," Rouse said. "We can have input about what's inside the space but there are some limitations on how the outside can look."

One of the main reasons to expand is so that Coffeehouse can have more storage space. The new space will be approximately 13 by 38 feet, as compared to 12 by 12 feet in the current space, and will cost up to $200,000 to renovate. Both Rice and Coffeehouse will share this expense. Both parties are currently negotiating over what percentages each will contribute, Rouse said.

"The best part is it will allow us to be more efficient," General Manager Christine Cooper said. "Right now, every time we run out of something it's a five-minute delay - it will really allow us to provide better service to people."

Each of Coffeehouse's current storage closets are located in different places throughout the RMC, including one in Willy's Pub, Cooper said.

Though the rest of the Kelley Lounge will remain a public space within the RMC, Coffeehouse would like to use the sitting space for customers to sit and chat, and hopes to hold more events there.

"We are hoping it will be a space for people to hang out," Rouse said. "As of right now we have a tiny little couch. We have restrictions that say nothing can extend beyond our space. But we can make it feel like our space."

Though Rouse and Cooper say they have no official plans for the inside of the new Coffeehouse, both hinted that two registers might be a new addition.

"I know it's one of the most of annoying things to wait in line for just a cup of coffee," Cooper said. "We want to have a second register so people can expedite their trip to Coffeehouse."

In this case, one register would function as sort of an express lane, serving those who want plain coffee or tea.

Coffeehouse would like student input for any ideas concerning what the new location should do differently or try to incorporate. They will construct a survey for both Coffeehouse workers and the general student body in the next few weeks. The survey will be posted on the Coffeehouse Facebook page.

Duncan College sophomore Ciara Ayala said she appreciated the need for expansion.

"I guess it's a good thing because Coffeehouse is always so busy and the line is always in the hallway," Ayala said. "Expansion is always a good thing.

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