By Lauren Carr &Luke Hartman, Senior Writers
Since the closing of Dante’s Den last year, the space that used to hold many students daily has remained a ghost town. The doors have remained closed and all that can be found is an empty space.
Since the space has remained empty many students have been wondering what will move in and when exactly they will see a change. Vice President for Facilities, Andrew Ryan, discussed the plans for the renovation.
“The plan for the renovated Dante’s area was always to put student services in, primarily due to the central location on the north campus. The plan has remained roughly the same,” Ryan said.
The offices that will be moving into the space are the following: The Center for Academic Success (which also includes the Writing Center, Athletics Academic Support, Specialized Resource Center), The Center for Career Development, The Center for Graduate School and Fellowship Advisement, Study Abroad, Student Financial Aid, and Graduate Admissions.
Students and alumni have mixed feelings about the administrative decision on how to fill the space on the second floor of Thomas Hall.
“I remember Dante’s being one of the best places to go on campus for a quick snack, or just a place to hang out. They had unique food options that weren’t offered anywhere else,” alumni Vincent Harris said. “While the offices are definitely important elements of the college and having them so accessible would be good, I think there is definitely an element missing for another environment for students and community members to go.”
“I would have really liked another café style dining option that accepted meal swipes. I still have never really understood how the meal swipes in the Kelly Commons works, and I think the campus is lacking in options in terms of food for students who live in the regular residence halls,” junior Mahina Choy-Ellis said. “I do however think it is good that some of those offices are going to be in a more central location. People don’t necessarily know where all those different offices are, so to have things like Study Abroad in a place where people are will really bring some good attention to the program,”
The reason for the hold of construction was due to budget issues. There needed to be a strong budget enforced before they could make the go ahead for the demolition. Once the funding was in place, facilities then began the planning process.
“We then went into design and the permitting and bidding process. We then started some of the “make ready” work – relocation of IT services, disposition of the existing furniture, most of which was repurposed around the campus, and asbestos abatement. We are currently in final contract negotiations and expect to begin demolition shortly.”