Curtis Hall, located at 474 Boston Avenue, has undergone a number of changes over the past semester, including a shortening of hours for the Brown and Brew Coffee House and a series of structural renovations still in progress.
Director of Project Administration Rudi Pizzi explained that moisture passing from outside of the building has been rotting the supporting joists under the first floor level, causing the floor to sag. Construction on the building is already underway, and it is slated for completion in January, according to Pizzi.
“When we went in to do a renovation, we were well aware on the first floor that part of the floor was sagging, so we had flagged that area as not being able to be utilized for … the past year,” he said.
When the construction crew pulled up the floors, they realized that the moisture damage had been made worse by termite damage, Pizzi added.
“What we have to do now is tear up the floor to the extent of the work area that’s been affected, and we have to add on to the structure of those joists so that we can restructure that floor,” he said.
The construction team will be taking several measures to prevent such problems from occurring in the future, according to Pizzi.
“We have to do some work on the outside of the building to try to mitigate some of the moisture issues where this problem has manifested itself,” he said. “We are having the building treated for any potential termite issues. We don’t think that they’re active in there now, but we are going to have it treated anyway to make sure they don’t come back.”
Pizzi emphasized that the structural damage only affected a small part of Brown and Brew, which is located inside Curtis Hall. Patti Klos, director of dining and business services, said that Brown and Brew is completely safe to operate during the construction.
This year, however, Brown and Brew has shortened its hours due to a decline in business, according to Klos. The coffee house, which used to be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., is now open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m from Monday through Thursday.
“A couple years ago, we stopped having seven-day-a-week operations because there were just not enough people in there, and over the past couple of years, what we’ve seen … is that after about 4 p.m., the participation in there drops off dramatically,” Klos said.
Despite this observation, she added that Brown and Brew will remain open during the 4 to 6 p.m. slot in order to provide another space for people to study or meet up.
Klos noted that the adjusted hours may also enable Brown and Brew to host weekday programming, as it has in the past. The coffee house’s programming ceased once the Tower Cafe in Tisch Library opened in 2004.
Student demand for more event space on campus has spurred discussions about re-opening Brown and Brew after 6 p.m. for the purpose of student events and gatherings, according to Klos.
“We’ll be meeting with Joe Golia and his team over at the [Office for Campus Life] in the next couple of weeks to talk about how we can make Brown and Brew a space groups can reserve through virtual [Event Management Systems] and what kind of staffing would be required,” she said.