Students at Saint Martin’s University were welcomed home with a nice surprise, a newly renovated Saint Gertrude’s Café. According to an email from Ed Barton, Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Saint Martin’s University, the plans to renovate the café “started a year ago, and progressed through design and bidding in the Spring semester. Work began shortly after school ended in June, and was completed just in time for school to start in September.” According to an email from Carole Ann Beckwith, General Manager of Bon Appetit at Saint Martin’s University, the total time that it took to complete the renovations was “just about 12 weeks.” Since most of the work was done efficiently over the summer, the impact of the renovations was minor for most students. Anyone who was on campus during the summer, however, may have remembered that the café was closed and that only the Monk’s Bean was open in addition to the temporary café in Cebula. For those who did not, the newly renovated café was a glorious gem that awaited their return to campus.
There were several reasons why the café was renovated. For one, it was time for another renovation. Beckwith noted in an email that it had been eight years since the last renovation to the café. Barton noted, “There was work to both the parts you can see (the dining room) as well as to upgrading some of the equipment in the kitchen – which was failing and nearing 20 years old.” The cost of the new café will be about $1.1 Million, when complete according to Barton. Barton also stated that “Bon Ap and SMU shared in the cost of the remodel.” The money is well spent for anyone who uses the café daily and is excited for more meal options, a new lasting kitchen and a wonderful new design.
The main changes according to Barton are “adding approximately 30 seats to the café, moving the salad bar, drink station and checkouts to improve flow and adding a coffee/espresso bar that is open extended hours.” Beckwith also noted that there is now a third register for checkout and extended hours for the espresso area. These changes have enhanced the café and made it fit for a new era of education at Saint Martin’s University as we continue to welcome more and more students. Students may have also noticed the updated modern style that was part of the renovations. Beckwith noted that students seem to enjoy “the updated look, the openness and espresso area” most.
There were relatively few challenges faced during the renovations. Beckwith mentioned that the only challenge was “serving meals in 3rd floor Cebula, the BA team did a great job with coordinating and transporting meals from the main kitchen in old main to 3rd floor Cebula for 3 meal periods. While also coordinating catering event transport as well. Teamwork is how we made it through. We have a great team.”
There are many things that one might enjoy about the new café, following renovations. When asked about what he enjoyed most, Barton said, “I love the new layout and the espresso bar – now those of us with classes and offices in Old Main don’t have to brave the rain to go to the Monk’s Bean to get coffee or a snack.” Beckwith said that she enjoyed “the updated look, but mostly it’s the smiles of on the face of our customers and their happiness with the outcome of our project” that she enjoys most. Whatever it is that you enjoy most about the new café, the Saint Martin’s community is delighted that we have a new café that is built to last into the future and will serve us well for many years to come through its efficiency, design and dependability.
Written by Brian Messing, Section Editor