Cap and TI projects on schedule, Charter to begin construction soon
As Cap & Gown Club puts the finishing touches on its new wing — which officially opened in early February — Tiger Inn renovations are proceeding according to plan and are scheduled to be completed in August 2011. Construction on Charter Club’s new lounge, originally set to be completed in December or January, will begin within the next two weeks and be completed in April.
Cap’s construction, which began in the fall of 2009, is fast approaching its conclusion. The highlight of the renovations — the new wing, which contains a taproom, dining room, balcony and outdoor patio — opened for members’ use at the beginning of the spring semester.
According to president Derek Grego ’12, the club’s members have generally positive opinions about the new wing.
“It’s great. We love it,” Grego said. “As far as I can tell, everyone is excited and putting it to good use.”
The decision to expand was a necessity at a time when the club’s membership was increasing rapidly. Former president Rachel Blum ’11 told the ‘Prince’ in October that the old space was “crammed” and that the expansion would make the club more comfortable for meals and social events. In the few weeks that the wing has been open, it has succeeded in providing that added level of comfort, Grego said.
“There’s more seating in the open room, which is great for meals,” Grego explained. “It’s just more room in the club, which helps all around.”
Cap’s selectivity and overall number of bickerees has increased in recent years, a trend that reached its peak earlier this month when 204 students bickered the club, the most since 1972. Blum told the ‘Prince’ at the time that she attributed the increased interest at least partly to excitement about the new wing.
Though the main attraction has been completed, Grego pointed out that there are still a few outstanding minor renovation projects.
“It’s just little touches at this point,” Grego said. “They’re putting the stairs in; it’s mainly just aesthetic things at this point.”
Across Prospect Avenue, TI is making progress as scheduled on its extensive renovations, which began at the end of the last academic year. According to TI’s website, the club had not been significantly expanded or improved since its construction in 1895, when it housed only 30 members. The plans include increasing the dining room’s size by almost 1,000 square feet — making room for 132 seats as opposed to the current 72 — building a new taproom and upgrading the officers’ quarters. Overall, the construction will increase the size of the club by over 5,000 square feet.
“The construction seems to be progressing as scheduled, and the club will be beautiful when finished,” TI president Jeff Cole ’12 said in an e-mail.
Although none of the individual projects are completed yet, the additions to the club will be ready by the start of the next school year, Cole said.
“There is a small chance the taproom will be open before the end of this semester, but you never know with construction,” Cole noted.
He added that the club’s renovation has not posed “a big inconvenience” for club members. The only change they’ve had to make is a temporary dining room setup.
“Despite the construction, we still have the best social events on the Street, and I do not see that changing,” Cole said.
Currently, TI’s membership hovers around 150 students, but according to the club’s website, the planned expansion will accommodate 200 members. Nevertheless, Cole said that the upgraded house’s capacity for a larger membership would not change how TI conducts Bicker.
“We never set specific membership limits during the Bicker process and we discuss each and every person individually,” Cole said. “The new club won’t change this process, and our membership numbers vary year to year,” he added.
Both TI and Cap solicited donations from their alumni to finance their renovations. According to their websites, each club has raised over $5 million so far.
Charter’s smaller-scale plans to construct a new members’ lounge in a currently underutilized storage room are expected to begin within the next two weeks. Though the club expected the renovations to be complete by December or January, it was not able to obtain the permits to begin construction until recently.
“The permits took longer than we had expected, so the construction is due to start next week,” president of Charter Daniel Fletcher ’12 said, adding that they were hoping for an April opening.
The lounge, which will be closed to non-members, will serve as an alternative for members who do not enjoy the current socializing options available to them on Charter’s tap nights.
“It will provide a chiller place to lounge around and relax and talk to each other, if you don’t want to be in the more hectic tap room scene or the loud, dark dance floor,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher explained that the idea has been met with much fanfare from the members, who have enjoyed the recent champagne lounge events the club has held in the card room. When the lounge is complete, it will be used to hold these types of events.
“They’ve drawn people who don’t normally come out to the normal Charter Fridays,” Fletcher said. “The members are really excited.”
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