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Summer Rez renovations completed in campus center

Published: Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 07:09

The Rez

Aalok Kanani / Tufts Daily

The Rez opened on Saturday after undergoing major renovations this summer.

    After undergoing renovations over the summer, The Rez, along with its surrounding lounge area, sported a brand new look at its official opening on Saturday.

    The campus center coffee shop run by Tufts Student Resources (TSR) received both an aesthetic facelift and internal modifications from renovations that began in June and reached completion about two weeks ago.
    "The goal was to increase visibility … but primarily the goal was to provide better services to the students," said TSR President Ali Osman, a senior.

    The renovations include a replacement of all existing equipment in The Rez. Two ATMs that were originally located near The Rez have moved to the opposite side of the lobby near the Office for Campus Life, allowing space for a large storage area and a condiment bar for Rez customers.

    The renovations allowed The Rez itself to essentially double in size, as well as making it wheelchair accessible and bringing it up-to-date with the most recent health codes, according to senior and TSR Vice President of Operations Adam Kornetsky.

    The project was part of a larger initiative last year, spearheaded by TCU Vice President Antonella Scarano, to make minor facelifts to the entire campus center. She said the renovations have given new life to an old space.

    "We wanted it to feel more like a social slash study room," said Scarano, a senior. She hopes that the revamped space will meet the same reception as Hotung Café, which was renovated in the summer of 2007.

    "I think when Hotung [café] first opened up it was sort of a breath of fresh air," Scarano said. "It was not only pleasant to the eyes but more conducive to socializing and studying, and I think that's what's happening again to The Rez. It's another breath of fresh air."

    The Rez's new look also includes hanging lamps and red lighting, red cushions covering the lounge's wooden benches and new furniture, flooring and paint. The lounge area across from The Rez features large, translucent hanging panels that enclose the space.

    "They wanted the lounge area to feel more enclosed and intimate, and that's why the panels were put up around the parameter," Senior Construction Project Manager Ray Santangelo said. "We didn't build anything new here, we just added [to the lounge area]."   
    The students who run The Rez like the coffee shop's new appearance but are quick to point out that the unique personality of The Rez has not changed.

    "It looks different, but people can still expect all of the same Rez quirks and traditions," said Rez employee Adam Frank, a senior.

    "We love the renovations, but we really wanted to keep the old personality," said junior Laura Bernescu, who also works at The Rez. "We don't want people to feel the same way they do when they go into [Tisch Library's Tower Café] or Hotung [Café]."

    The Rez has kept all of its old products and vendors, but it has supplemented its menu with several new selections, including bagels, frozen mochas, iced tea and chocolate milk. The renovations' inclusion of a new ice machine for the Rez will also help to make iced drinks more readily available, according to Kornetsky.

    "The Rez has always offered limited food," Kornetsky said of the menu expansion, "but we know the average student is often looking for something more nourishing and nutritious."

    TSR had aspired to renovate The Rez for several years but had lacked the necessary funding until last year. In April, the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate gave a $100,000 loan to TSR to pay for its renovations to The Rez. After funding for the project was established, the renovations progressed fairly rapidly.

    "It was surprisingly easy to complete the actual renovation," Kornetsky said. "Of course we hit a couple of snags, as every construction project does, but we ultimately finished exactly on schedule."

    Changes to the rest of the campus center are still planned but are contingent on further funding. Last year, senators toured the campus centers of other colleges and universities, formed a committee and engaged Tufts' Board of Trustees for partial support. They are hoping to renovate the campus center's upper level lobby next.

    Students who work at The Rez are happy with the renovations' end result.

    "People love new things, and this is a lot more comfortable and cozy," Bernescu said. "I think it's been updated to what students these days need."

    "We look like a legitimate coffee shop now," Frank said. "We have the spaces and the resources to create more business and a bigger niche on campus."

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