Barret Hall ran into issues while attempting to replace The Den with something more useful. The area has not been transformed into a kitchen for the residents because of zoning issues with the city of Abilene.
The lobby is zoned as a business area because it used to house The Den, which was run by the corporation Java City. This is the biggest issue and the reason for delays.
Ryan Randolph, area coordinator for Smith-Adams and Barret Hall, said she is working as hard as possible to make the kitchen a reality.
“There’s just something about sitting down and breaking bread together that creates the perfect atmosphere for building community,” Randolph said.
Just weeks after The Den was shut down in February, discussions began about transforming the space into something useful for the residents, like a kitchen.
Departments such as Campus Management, Residence Life and Risk Management are now collaborating to make that a possibility.
Residents, however, are becoming impatient with the process.
Krystal Sommers, psychology major from Houston and a resident in Barret, is taking matters into her own hands.
“Every time I think about making food, I think about sneaking into the other dorms.” Sommers said. “That’s kind of sad, because I’d love to make my own food here instead of traveling across campus or to a friend’s house.”
Other students agree with Randolph and believe the space should be a place that facilitates community.
As of now, the area remains a lounge for both men and women to spend time together and watch television or movies. Some appliances are available for use by the residents but are limited to such things as griddles, industrial mini-fridges and an ice machine.
“Thinking back to freshman dorms, like last year in Gardner and Nelson, you have the place to bake right next to your lobby,” Sommers said. “It would be cool if it just worked as a kitchen, so it could function as both. While people are cooking some people could hangout, or you could be hanging out and cooking.”
However, Randolph said that if a kitchen is not possible then more above the counter appliances will be added to make the area as useful as possible.