Forums set for proposed renovations of Cowell, Stevenson coffee shops

Cowell and Stevenson colleges will hold two community forums during the first week of April to gather input on proposed renovations and other changes to the college coffee shops.

The first forum will be 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 5; the second will be 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6. Both will be in the Stevenson Event Center.

"We recognize that the Stevenson and Cowell coffee shops hold a special place in many of your hearts," said Carolyn Golz, college administrative officer for both colleges. "We will be soliciting feedback from community members about the upcoming changes in hopes of determining the best program requirements to meet a variety of needs."

The coffee shops at Cowell and Stevenson may be renovated later this year, part of an effort to reinvest in the facilities and potentially offer kosher and/or halal dining options.

Beginning this summer, the coffee shops will be managed by UC Santa Cruz Dining Services. Both coffee shops have been operating with substantial and unsustainable deficits for many years, and have drawn funding away from meaningful college programming and facility upgrades.

"While we have tried a variety of things to increase revenues and cut costs at the coffee shops, the deficits continue to grow," Golz said.

The coffee shops will remain open and continue to serve the campus community, though renovation would mean one would be closed for improvements.

Golz said the colleges have just begun planning. Stevenson is considering having kosher and/or halal dining options available in its coffee shop, something that larger dining halls can't offer.

However, Golz said this program will require renovations and improvements to the Stevenson space, so the college may need to temporarily close the coffee shop after commencement and re-open once the improvements are complete, which could be as soon as January 2017.

Once Stevenson re-opens, the Cowell Coffee Shop will undergo improvements and renovations. Golz said the colleges want to make sure that at least one facility is open to serve the community during the renovations.

"We know that the community atmosphere, long hours of operation, and study space is important and we hope to maintain many of these elements, and more," Golz said.