By Allyson Haefke, Elizabeth Cichowski, and Jaclyn DeMeuse
Common Grounds Coffee House is finally reopening soon after a year of construction. Students will be able to get back to work, and others will finally get their communal hang out back.
The Common Grounds Coffee House is one of the most popular places on campus. Students could enjoy a Starbucks coffee while doing homework or catching up with friends. In the evening, the coffee house had open mic nights and poetry nights as well. Due to it being under construction for the past school year, students have not had the opportunity to utilize the coffee house space. The Common Grounds Coffee House will be opening up soon (exact date, wait for Grant to email back), and students will utilize the space again. Right now, students can use an application called the Dining app, which you can order coffee and pick it up at the coffee shop.
According to Grant Winslow, Director of Operations for University Union, Common Grounds needed to utilize its workspace better, update the corner store’s 25-year-old equipment, and provide more space for seating in the coffee house. The newly renovated coffee house has been completely redesigned with a new countertop layout and additional square feet. The corner store and coffee house were two different spaces, and they were able to take down the dividing wall to open up more space. An indoor window was cut into the Common Grounds front wall to allow walk-up access to students. The walls finally got a new paint job after eight years, according to Grant Winslow. And one of the most recognizable changes is the retiring of the C-Store name, as the two outlets have become one.
Students used to spend time in Common Grounds while enjoying their coffee, but they were forced to pick their coffee up at the Chartwells catering room during the construction and transition. The coffee machines were moved to the room to make construction easier and keep the coffee production inside of the Union for the students. Currently, the crew that creates our aromatic beverages is moved back into the Common Grounds space, but there is no seating, and the only way you can obtain a coffee is through a window in the hallway at the coffee shop’s front entrance. It will be only (enter time until opening) until the re-grand opening, allowing students to gather again, at a safe distance, of course.
According to Connor Hamann, a Chartwells employee, most of the baristas displaced to the catering room will choose to reunite with the Common Grounds space. They will be met with a new workspace and countertop set up and materials and new faces. More employees will need to be hired to accommodate both the larger area of the coffee house and the new, enlarged marketplace.
Connor also reminds us that “workers are excited to get back to work after over a year away from Common Grounds and for things to start getting back to normal.” Students, faculty, and staff are all looking forward to having a space to work, relax, and enjoy freshly brewed beverages. Common Grounds can’t come soon enough.