University News

Renovated Underground opens, to be dedicated Friday

Contributing Writer
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Underground is back in business.

Renovations to the event space on the bottom floor of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center were completed Sept. 20, according to Project Manager for Facilities John Cooke.

Renovations included removing the ceiling, adding a service elevator for the building’s new servery, creating a new floor system and restoring the bar area, Cooke said.

A new game lounge was also added adjacent to the Underground, Senior Director for Student Engagement Ricky Gresh wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Though the Underground is open for student use, it will formally be dedicated with the rest of the Campus Center at a ceremony Oct. 1. Gresh said there will be a First Friday celebration that evening.

The Underground was last open for events in May 2009, Cooke said. Vice President for Facilities Management Stephen Maiorisi said it was closed with the rest of the building for the renovations.

Cooke said he and Maiorisi tried to maintain the original look of the room despite the renovations.

“Obviously with the new elevator in the room, physically the stage had to shift over, and some adjustments in the physical appearance did take place, but we wanted to keep the original aesthetics of the room,” Cooke said.

He cited the exposed brick and “somewhat darker colors” as elements that he thinks students liked about the space.

Before the renovation, the space was operated by two student groups — the Underground student organization worked the bar on weekends, and the Hourglass Cafe sold drinks and pastries on weeknights. The room also served as a venue for student organizations, artists and performers.

Students can reserve the space through the scheduling office, Director of the Campus Center Dean Kisa Takesue ’88 wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Gresh said that it is not yet clear if either the Underground organization or the Hourglass Cafe has interest in using the space.

Gresh said that the student coordinators for the Campus Center will help organize students to make sure the Underground stays utilized and “contributes to the overall life” of the building.

Another change he noted was that when the room is not reserved for events, the Underground will be open for community use. Previously, the Underground was closed on Sundays and days before evening events.

“Throughout the renovation, we had an eye towards making every space as available to the campus community as possible and allowing for space to meet many different needs,” Gresh said.

Gresh said he foresees the new Underground will be a well-used element of the Campus Center.

“The Underground has been and will continue to be a popular venue for music, performance and other forms of entertainment and a home for various social events and meetings,” Gresh said.