Long Walk Cafe Renovations: The Reveal

Long Walk Cafe

The Long Walk Café, located on the ground floor of Lee Hall, is the only multi-function room in Lee Hall and the only fully functioning community kitchen space on West Campus. Named for the long walk down the hallway from the ground floor entrance to the café kitchen on the other side of the building, the Long Walk Café is an ideal meeting space for students as they plan group meetings or use the laundry facilities next door.

With renovations nearly complete, the Long Walk Café is expected to re-open February 1, 2013. “We are waiting on furniture to arrive so the Long Walk Café can open to students,” said Steve Nettles, University Housing’s Facilities Planner. “There’s all new furniture for the flat-screen TV sitting area, dining area with tables, chairs and barstools, and the piano sitting area.”

The Long Walk Café renovation project began after University Housing started remodeling other parts of campus. “A few years ago, we did a big project in the Alexander Hall kitchen,” Nettles said.  The success of this project proved that other projects of this sort were possible. The Associate Director of West Campus came to us with a similar challenge – to develop a kitchen and social area that could support the students in Lee Hall. The WISE Village in Lee often holds cooking functions, but they didn’t have an adequate space for these events. “

To begin the renovation project, the University Housing Facilities Shop began with help from outside sources. “We called in a professional design firm, Swanson and Stewart, and they gave us some ideas of what we could do to the space,” Nettles said. “We took their suggestions and combined ideas from all three designs to come up with the new space, which we designed to have a coffee shop atmosphere.”

The extensive renovations to the Long Walk Café took about one semester to complete.  All of the new features for the café are ADA compliant with most of the work done in-house by University Housing Facilities staff members.

“Nearly 99 percent of the work on the Long Walk Café was done in-house,” Nettles said. “The Long Walk Café now has a fully functioning kitchen with enough room for residents to prep and cook together. Before, the Long Walk Café only had a small kitchen with an old stove and one sink, so we gutted the whole space and built all new cabinets. Our carpenter, Ray Corbett, did all of the cabinetry. The walls were gutted and the General Shop did the demolition. Our carpenter, Al Wooden, constructed all the new walls, plus we did all the sheetrock and ceiling work. We also took out the old HVAC system and installed a new one. Our in-house electricians took out all of the electrical items and put in everything new. Luis Jimenez built all the solid surfaces for the bar and countertops.”

Some other new features of the Long Walk Café include a commercial grade refrigerator and freezer, two microwaves, a double sink, two stacked convection ovens, and a commercial icemaker. New Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) was installed by an outside contractor to replace the old carpet in the café. The Long Walk Café has two different colors of LVT to differentiate sitting and walkway spaces. The new furniture will sit on the dark brown LVT and leave open space for curving walkways on the light brown LVT.

“The flooring looks really great,” Nettles said. “We also used all LED lighting in the room, which is also very economical to use.”

The Long Walk Café is available to reserve for meetings and events on West Campus. The new space can accommodate about 50 people. To reserve the Long Walk Café for your next West Campus function, email Susan Githens or call her at (919) 515-6709.