Dirlam facelift completed over break


by Mariah Young

Sitting back to study in a cozy, leather couch with a warm cup of coffee at hand and an environment that feels welcoming to strangers sums up the atmosphere found at the newly renovated Dirlam Lounge.

Over the course of winter break Dirlam Lounge, home of the Holy Grounds Coffee Shop, received a face-lift funded by the Student Government Association (SGA).

The changes made include wooden flooring, freshly painted purple and taupe walls, an updated ceiling, additional furniture, modern lighting, and a more convenient floor plan.

$27,500 was allocated to pay for the renovations; the project came in slightly under budget post construction.

“I think the renovations look amazing,” senior and student body president Joe Sorenson said. “They turned out better than I expected.”

In addition to agreeing that the space turned out wonderfully, Sorenson also believed that this was an appropriate use of resources.

“We have some reserve funds that came back to us this year,” Sorenson said. “We were looking to put this to the best use of the students. This space will really help with programming, and we can hold some really cool events here. It was a necessary use for this place to be updated.”

Everyone collaborating on this project believed it was worthwhile. They strived to create a space that was warm, welcoming, and functional.

“I don’t know that there is any single most beneficial party,” Chaplin Fritz Wehrenberg said. “I really do believe that the campus benefits from having a space that is much more attractive to show to prospective students. It has a recruitment value. I think that having created this space in the way that we have, we have another room for activities that has the real feel of a coffee shop.”

The updated Dirlam Lounge is also set up to be an enjoyable study space for all students. The designers on the project attempted to create an alternative to the library, where students would feel inclined to dig into a good book.

“We asked a lot of students that hung out here what they were looking for,” said Meredith McCay, junior and Holy Grounds manager. “We wanted to create a welcoming space for students on campus. Besides the library, we don’t have many warm, cozy study places.”

About 40 students around campus were asked what they would like to see fit into the project, and so far the response has been increasingly positive. Even the dominating purple wall has been a pleasant surprise to the most skeptical people.

The design was not the only topic questioned. With the new campus center being built some questioned the necessity of the new coffee shop. However those working on the project explained that the updated coffee shop would compliment it nicely.

“They serve two different audiences,” Sorenson said. “Kent Campus Center is built for social reasons. It was built to be a loud exciting atmosphere. Dirlam Lounge, by its nature, is built to be more slow paced. I think it’s another option for students to have on the east side of campus.”

This project also demonstrates student’s ability to influence what happens on campus.

“There is a lot of hard student work in here,” Sorenson said. “This is a really cool story how some students had a great idea and found the means to make it happen. I think this can happen a lot more on Simpson campus. Students can get together and make change if they are persistent with it.”

In the future Dirlam lounge hopes to play host to special musical performances, with a PA system already in the works. Also, look for Dirlam Lounge’s open house where they will be offering free drinks and explanations of the renovations that were made during winter break.