The Redpath Café, currently located in the basement of the McLennan-Redpath Library complex, will be moving upstairs to the first floor.
In a SSMU Legislative Council meeting on November 11, VP University Affairs Joshua Abaki revealed this latest development in the proposed expansion and renovation of the Cyberthèque. The move will be a collaboration between the library and McGill Food and Dining Services (MFDS).
“It’s part of the master plan and we’ve been working over time to figure out how to…move the food services from downstairs, which is grossly undersized,” said Diane Koen, the Director of Libraries.
She pointed out that the move is still in its initial planning stages and that nothing is finalized yet. “I don’t want to overpromise and under-deliver,” she said.
The new cafe will most likely take the space currently occupied by the IT Customer Services (ICS) lending centre. Funding permitting, the move should be completed in two years.
After the cafe moves upstairs, the Cyberthèque will expand to fill the space, Abaki said.
According to Koen, the move will increase the cafe’s accessibility and foot traffic. An MFDS survey from last year found that the Redpath Café was the most popular food outlet on campus, with 38 per cent of respondents frequenting the cafe more than once a month. In contrast, the SSMU food court and the Engineering Café both had 21 per cent of respondents eating at the locations more than once a month.
The cafe was renovated just this past summer to allow for increased traffic, and students have asked why the administration is spending money on renovating a cafe when it intends to completely move it.
“[MFDS] recognised that in order to handle the flow and the volume…that they needed to do something. They saw that [the summer’s] improvement was not a longterm upgrade,” said Koen.
In other words, they believed that the congestion caused by the former layout of the cafe was too big a problem to put off for several years until they moved to a new location. Koen also said that “it would not have been student money that would have been behind that renovation.”
The funding for the proposed move is still being negotiated and the budget has not been finalized.
MFDS declined to comment, issuing a statement that it was “too early to discuss tentative plans for what may or may not happen to the Redpath Café.”
Stefan Mitchell, a second-year Engineering student, felt confident about the move. “McGill lacks space in everything, if [the move] gives you more space then it’s worth it in the end,” he said.