By Diana Hall
Congestion, be gone: Oakham Cafe is undergoing a $50,000 revamp to bring a more enjoyable dining experience to the Student Campus Centre (SCC) just in time for the start of term.
Spearheaded by the SCC home management team, the construction project — which began at the beginning of August and is still ongoing — has resulted in the installation of new light fixtures, an expanded dining and lounge area, new point-of-sale machines, cabinetry and “grab-and-go” scanners.
Eric Newstadt, general manager of the SCC, hopes the changes in serviceability will relieve some of the cafe’s trouble with congestion, a problem which became apparent after seeing a 120 per cent increase in business and sales over the past two years.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve the [SCC], to better serve students,” Newstadt said. As a result of the construction, “we’re not just seeing an expansion of space, but an improvement in service.”
The estimated net increase of 22 seats (not including the lounge area ), full-spectrum lights, and additional service during peak hours are the main elements working together to create a more spacious, inviting and multi-purpose environment in the quaint campus favourite.
“One of the things students keep telling us is that they want to use the student centre for various things, [such as] art openings, theatre [and] meetings,” Newstadt said. “[Flexibility has been] a demand expressed by students over and over and over again.”
With the upcoming installation of two moveable partitions between the cafe, extended dining area and conference rooms, Oakham Cafe would be able to serve that need by operating in four different settings.
“Changes like those are what we will continue to make over the coming year.” Newstadt said.
Tackling the Thomas Lounge solarium is next on the renovation list.