GSC, Chartwells renovation updates announced

Changes include a new timeline with restaurants set to open in October

Photo courtesy of Xavier University

After the closure of Blue Gibbon and Ryan’s Pub contributed to rising tensions with reduced food options in the Gallagher Student Center (GSC), the promises of a revamped, improved atrium leave the Xavier community hopeful that they can explore it by the beginning of the fall semester. Because of delays, however, the original opening in August has been pushed back to October.

“Both Ryan’s Pub and Blue Gibbon closed of their own volition due to business results,” Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services Jude Kiah said. The restaurants had the opportunity to pull out of their contracts early without penalty, which both Ryan’s Pub and Blue Gibbon chose to do. Kiah knows that Subway will continue to operate until “at least the second week of May, but it may be longer depending on when our construction will begin.”

The delay was caused by safety concerns with removing the wall separating Ryan’s Pub from the atrium, Kiah said. Engineers allegedly did not initially agree that the ventilation would meet fire safety regulations but eventually concluded that the removed wall would not violate safety standards.

The postponed construction creates a need for food options for summer students, which Kiah assured will be available. He said that they are trying to open Hoff Dining Commons during summer for lunch as well as asking Currito to consider additional hours. A third plan consists of “grab ‘n go” options.

Within the past few weeks, there were several new developments. Kiah reported that a construction manager, who hires the construction workers, has been hired. The university has also received the “first part of the money from Chartwells” to do the work. Finally, they have initial renderings of the atrium’s potential design.

In a meeting on April 20, Senior Director for Student Affairs and Student Involvement Leah Klenowski provided feedback on these renderings. During the Student Government Association’s (SGA) final meeting on Monday, Klenowski shared the discussions with the Senate.

There will be two different storefronts available by opening. The one in Ryan’s Pub’s former location will be a “diner concept, with all-day-all-night breakfast” as well as a diner menu, Kiah said. Klenowski added that customers can expect typical diner food.

The second storefront in Subway and Blue Gibbon’s location will be similar to a Jason’s Deli, with “higher-end, hand-carved meats and cheeses, salads (and) soups,” Kiah said. Although he said that they have not thought of names, Klenowski revealed that several were shared with her. The name proposed for the whole atrium is “Ryan’s Landing.” Coffee Emporium, which will be managed by Chartwells but will still serve its products, may be called “Victory Perk.” Coffee Emporium declined to comment for this story.

For the deli storefront, Klenowski said the university wanted to use “Charlie’s,” but the name is trademarked. Other proposed names include “Charlie G’s,” “Seven Hills Deli” and “Tristate Deli.” She added that “if they left the room with anything, it’s that we didn’t like the names.”

Regardless, Kiah said these storefronts will provide options students have asked for.

The controversy begins with that claim. During SGA’s meeting on April 9, Kiah spoke as the Report of the Administration. Among other topics, he addressed the GSC renovations. In his report, he referenced data from a number of surveys about the food students want. According to several senators, SGA had previously requested this data but was not given it.

Senator and Student Organization Committee Chair Ellen Rakowski is a sharp critic of the university’s plans and actions thus far. She says people assume students on campus are not food insecure because they have food options.

“If you need to utilize the Xavier food bank or if you need to utilize different club events that have free food, you don’t know about those,” Rakowski said.

She said she feels that ConneX, Kiah and Director of Auxiliary Services Bill Moran are not accepting student voices and are sticking only to the data points.

“Students are more than data. We have voices and feelings and no money to spend on Charlie G’s diner, frankly,” Rakowski said.

By: Soondos Mulla-Ossman ~Features Editor~