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Administration plans to open up Cage space

The Cage has long been a social hub and a popular place for students to study. But its small size frequently poses a challenge to students – it is often difficult to find a vacant table.

However, this will change after the summer renovations planned for the space. Students returning in the fall should look forward to an expanded Cage with the addition of 60 to 70 tables, new paint, better lighting and more outlets – potentially with USB ports.

Recently, St. Olaf formed a planning committee for this project, which includes Director of Student Activities Kris Vatter, students representing Buntrock Commons staff and Artist in Residence Gary Gisselman, the project’s faculty representative.

Construction will move the Camps and Conference office to the current location of the faculty and staff lounge and meeting room, located in Buntrock 145A, relocate the Buntrock Scheduling Office to the recently vacated Buntrock information desk and expand the Cage into the remaining space left by the vacated offices.

However, renovating the Cage has what Vatter called a “domino effect.” With the renovated Cage comes the question of whether to expand the kitchen as well, as there will be more people using the Cage. Also, there is the issue of taking away a meeting room and faculty lounge.

Currently, the committee is in the early planning phase. The committee hopes to complete all office movements and Cage renovations this summer. For people off-campus who want to stay in the loop, there are plans to put updates on the St. Olaf web page so that the Cage’s progress can be observed by any interested parties.

Those on the planning committee are hopeful that these renovations will solve several problems with the current Cage layout. Vatter said that the idea of the Cage is a “place for the entire community to feel welcome,” but right now it is just too small to do that.

“What I am most excited to see in the renovations is a space that can be better used by students and staff alike,” said Lizzie Rose ’15, a Buntrock Commons staff member serving on the planning committee. “The renovations will make Buntrock a more useful place for everyone on campus.”

With the new additions, students can return in the fall to an open, brighter space with more study spaces and resources available in the much-loved and used on-campus café.

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