Murray-Dodge to undergo renovations, underground café expected to move location| Nov 13, 2014
The beloved underground Murray-Dodge Café is expected to move locations temporarily once its host building begins renovations next academic year.
Alex Cuadrado ’16, a student supervisor of the café, explained that the Office of Religious Life, currently located in Murray-Dodge, will relocate to Green Hall, while the café will likely move to Campus Club.
Muslim Student Association president Sarah Qari ’16, who spends time in the building doing work for the association, said that renovations may include the installation of bathrooms on the first floor, as well as an elevator and a new air conditioning system.
Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel Alison Boden declined to comment.
When asked what prompted renovations, Cuadrado said that the University began to do renovations on Murray-Dodge because the building did not follow regulations set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. He noted that Murray-Dodge has been on the list of buildings that the University is trying to renovate.
The ADA is designed to create equality for persons with disabilities in state and local government services, public accommodations, commercialfacilities and transportation. The University is required to abide by ADA regulations.
Qari said she had noticed the lack of disability provisions, explaining that the only women’s bathroom is on the secondfloor, and the only men’s bathroom is on the third.
“Murray-Dodge is terrible from an accessibility standpoint. People who are disabled cannot access any part but the ground floor,” she said.
Qari explained that making the transition to Green Hall may prove difficult since Green Hall is in a less central space, and it might be more of an effort to go there. Safa Syed ’17, who said she frequents both Murray-Dodge and the café, also said there might be reduced attendance at ORL programs and events in Green Hall. She explained that the people who do not attend ORL programs and events frequently may just stop coming altogether.
However, Syed noted that once the students and general University community get used to the change, things will likely revert back to normal.
Qari added that even though Murray-Dodge is more conveniently located than Green Hall, the core ORL community will most likely still attend events and programs even after the move.
“I don’t think the move will detract overall from the strength of the community. The ORL has enough inherent value to not need the building to survive,” she said.
Cuadrado also said he believed the location shift would not significantly alter the café’s culture.
“Campus Club doesn’t have that grungy basement feel that we have here, but a lot of the feel that exists at Murray-Dodge exists because of the people that come here and the people that work here,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue that.”
Cuadrado explained that the café was originally formed in the ’60s and ’70s as an alternative social space to Prospect Avenue, noting that back then, Frist Campus Center did not exist, and social life was dominated by the eating clubs. Cuadrado added that he hoped the café would continue to be a space open to everyone, as it was originally intended.
“We’re trying our hardest to make sure that free cookies are somewhere where people will want to hang out and somewhere that’s convenient for students,” he said.
Lydia Demissachew ’15, a café baker, added that though it will take time for word to spread about the café’s new location, the institution will certainly still be in place.
“It’s not closing down. That would be the biggest relief for students,” Demissachew said.
Qari said she believes the relocation of both Murray-Dodge and the café is justified, but noted that she will miss the building next year.
“I’m sad that I’ll be a senior and probably will not have Murray-Dodge in my last year, depending on how much of the building they’re tearing down,” Qari said.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article mischaracterized the nature of the move of the Murray Dodge café. The move will be temporary. The 'Prince' regrets the error.