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Davis Center café construction stalled
Although The Corp has said that it is not planning to start any construction on a café located in the Davis Performing Arts Center lobby for at least six months, faculty members working in the Davis Center and members of The Corp have denied that plans to build a café have been cancelled.
Representatives from both The Corp and those from the Davis Center expressed optimism about establishing the café in the future, but said that substantive developments for the proposed café have been postponed under the current Corp leadership of CEO Brad Glasser (COL ’11).
Glasser said that it is currently not in The Corp’s best interests to actively pursue the café.
“Our philosophy has always been to make sure that our current services are in the best working status before creating new venues,” Glasser said. “This is not to say that future Corp leaders will not reengage in this project. We really enjoy working with the Department of Performing Arts … and there is a lot of passion from both sides [for this project].”
Glasser said that since plans for the café begun two years ago, the project has run into many problems.
“It is very easy to underestimate just how many people are involved and how much work is involved for a project of this scope,” Glasser said. “Trying to get this the attention it deserves is really difficult to do.”
The idea of building a café in the Davis Center has been in the works for several years, and the Davis Center had talked to other local vendors about building a café before agreeing to work with The Corp two years ago.
Along with a changing campus landscape in terms of food venues, the economic downturn has been a major factor in derailing plans to build the café. The Corp had previously pushed back planned opening dates for the café from early 2010 to fall 2010.
This year, existing Corp facilities will be undergoing both external and internal renovations, which will include increasing food selections available in Vital Vittles, replacing flooring in existing locations, and expanding hours of operation.
Derek Goldman, the artistic director of the Davis Center and an associate professor of Theater and Performance Studies, still expressed optimism about the plan in spite of its cancellation.
“I know both the folks from The Corp and all of us at the Davis Center were completely surprised by [Tuesday]’s article in The Hoya which mistakenly indicated that the project has been scrapped,” Goldman wrote in an email. “We are working with our friends at The Corp on a statement that clarifies the current status of the project for everyone’s benefit.”
Goldman also added that any eventual plans for the café might not be identical to those reported earlier in the student press.
Goldman said some of the earlier coverage of The Corp café may have been overstated, specifically mentioning that full meals being served at the café would be unlikely at this point. Instead, the Davis Center is looking to keep the project simple and straightforward, but distinctive.
“Our investment is less in the scale or the magnitude in what’s being served, and that can grow and change as it opens, but more so to provide that space for students and to have the right atmosphere,” Goldman said.
“We and the Davis Center certainly hope it will go forward … I thought it was still possible in a smaller incarnation,” Maya Roth, assistant professor in the Department of Performing Arts, wrote in an email.
Details on the specifics of what the new Corp café will offer are currently not available. The Corp and representatives at the Davis Center are still regularly meeting with an architect to maintain working relations, but no designs or drawings for the new café have been made at this point.