Last week, Vox caught up with Chris Pigott, GUSA senator and student liaison for the Healy Student Space, to see how the project was faring.
Pigott indicated that Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, was not keen on the idea in their first meeting. However, he referred the group to University departments that could help further develop the concept.
“It’s only fair to us and the University to answer any and all questions that may arise,” Pigott said. “I think it’s a good sign that [Olson] is helping us to make this proposal better.”
Over the next couple of weeks, Pigott and the working group will try to get estimates as to how much the project will cost, how it might be built, and where the offices would be relocated.
Last week, Pigott met with Regina Bleck, assistant vice president for planning and project management, who gave the group blueprints of the space as it stands today. The blueprints (see slideshow above) indicate that the pub was not technically in the Healy basement, but rather a part of the McGuire annex that is occupied by University human resources.
When Vox toured the space, it was stacked floor-to-ceiling with boxes and stood empty. Employees at the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits indicated that there had been a flood and the McGuire offices were undergoing renovations.
Bleck also gave the working group some rough estimates of how much the space would cost in terms of construction and permitting. The total came out to about $1.3 million, which, according to Pigott, would leave ample money for moving out University departments and buying supplies for the space.
Meanwhile, conceptions of the space have changed since the working group first launched Bring Back Healy Pub in the spring.
“The goal is not to open up a bar or even open up a restaurant, it is simply to have a student-oriented space in Healy,” Pigott said.
Pigott also pointed out that the Harvard Queenshead Pub, which the working group uses as inspiration for their project, only serves alcohol during 10 to 20 percent of its opening hours. Meanwhile, administrators at universities such as Cornell and Holy Cross were taking the initiative to build student pubs to bring student life back on campus.
“Students have really been pushed to the fringes of this university for twenty years,” he said.
The next step for the working group is to build digital renderings of the space, which an alum has volunteered to do for free. Also, the group wants to scout out architecture firms and general contractors that will do free preliminary estimates and sketch-ups.