Southside Café to relocate to RJ’s second floor, construction to begin fall 2012

Southside Café will relocate to the second floor of Red Jacket Dining Center with construction anticipated to begin between August and September of this year.

According to Mark Scott, executive director of Campus Auxiliary Services, the renovation will involve moving the café from its current location on the ground floor of RJ to the unused space on the north side of the building’s second floor, space he said was “ideal real estate.”

Scott said the impetus for this renovation came from wanting to fulfill the dining expectations of new students who visited Mary Jemison Dining Center during campus tours, but who are more likely to eat at RJ, which he said looks very different.

“Ultimately I’m looking to decrease that variance between expectation and reality, particularly for our freshmen students,” said Scott.

 The new space will have additional seating for about 80 students, something Scott said is lacking in the current Southside Café. The café will also have two cashier lines to increase the speed of checkout.

The new café will feature a make-to-order pizza station that will allow students to choose the dough, proteins, vegetables and other toppings and a grill station where students can order hamburgers and french fries. The café will also feature a burrito and salad center similar to Cilantro’s in Millennium Market, as well as stations for ice cream and grab-and-go items.

Scott said CAS is also planning to incorporate a coffee bar with expanded hours just beyond the second floor entrance. The bar will serve espresso, brewed coffee, pastries and other specialty items.

According to Scott, the additional seating areas located throughout the second floor will have wireless capabilities and a printer workstation. He said these features are meant to provide students with a comfortable study space.

“I want students to be able to come to any one of our restaurants or cafés and feel as if they can … maintain that … level of productivity that’s necessary for them to have academic success here,” said Scott.

Scott said CAS is currently working with a design team and that drawings should be ready for bidding in July. He said he anticipates that the café will reopen in February or March of 2013. The dining center, including the current Southside Café, will remain open throughout construction.

To engage students in the design process, CAS Marketing Coordinator Becky Stewart created a Facebook page titled, “Southside Café Renovation,” through which students can give their opinions on proposed concepts for the café.

“Even if you’re not … directly impacted by Red Jacket today … I would hope that students who at some point or another had to call this their main dining hall would give us some feedback,” said Scott. “It’s important that all of us remember that we have some responsibility to … leave Geneseo better for the next generation."