[Everything You Wanted to Know About the Warch Center]

Caitlin Williamson

The No. 1 issue everyone’s dying to know about in the Warch Center is the food situation. Good news, everyone — both food quality and quantity will be better. For one, none of the existing food operations — Downer, Lucy’s, the grill, the coffeehouse — will be moved. Everything in the Warch Center will start from scratch.
The first floor will be an all-you-can-eat food court — the best value for your money, according to the director of the Richard and Margot Warch Campus Center, Greg Griffin. The food court will have a pizza station, a grill station and a chef in the middle, and it will offer a wide variety of food.
The second floor will consist of a convenient store that will offer grocery items such as frozen entrees, bread, peanut butter and jelly and other college staples. In addition, students will be able to call-in pizzas to be picked up at the convenient store.
A coffeehouse will also be featured on the second floor, serving Alterra Coffee, a Fair Trade organic roasting company based out of Milwaukee. The coffeehouse will also offer fresh pastries and possibly a gelato bar.
The third floor of the Warch Center, the main level, will offer a café that will be open from 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and will serve different foods depending on the time of day. Also, this way, if you want to buy a bagel and juice for breakfast before class and not a football player’s breakfast, you are only buying a bagel and juice.
Each of these dining options will be able to be paid for with the Lawrence meal cards. There will be a wide variety of meal plan options, accommodating those who would prefer to spend their money on convenient store items, and those who often eat three full meals per day and would prefer to spend their money in the food court downstairs.
There will also be an outdoor deck on which to eat during the summer that faces the river. And for those of you worrying about the VR, do not worry, it will not be going anywhere. There are still many memories to be had in our dear old pub.
We all know that the building is LEED-certified, but how sustainable is the inside of the Warch Center, really? According to Griffin, the design for dining services currently is to be trayless. Research has shown that 40 percent of food served in a setting with trays is thrown away, so if Lawrence went trayless, there would be more money to spend on higher-quality food. Plus, Mother Earth would love that.
While the Warch Center will have a full-blown movie theater that will be used by campus clubs and academic groups, it will also potentially offer Friday midnight showings of cult classics and other movies that have left the theater but are not yet out on DVD, depending on student interest.
There also will be a big focus on independent films, according to Griffin. There will be no charge for Lawrence students to use this facility. Unfortunately, there are no plans for a bowling alley or moon bounce in the new campus center, but a movie theater is a pretty sweet deal.
What is with that box sticking out of the top of the Warch Center? No, that is not where Wade will be sitting to watch out over campus. It is just an architecturally pleasing element, according to Griffin. It also happens to be the main stairwell, and the natural lighting will cut lighting costs and help it be LEED-Certified.
So, can Sage residents walk to the Warch Center without going outside? Although Sage’s proximity to the Warch Center will be incomparable, students will have to venture outside briefly. However, delivery trucks will drive straight through the basement of Sage to unload their goods.
Will our mailboxes be in the Warch Center? No more changing addresses every year — or more often if you’re a big mover. Each student will be assigned one mailbox in the Warch Center that they will keep for four years. The mail services will also be moved to the Warch Center and will offer longer hours, with new weekend hours, too. We will also be able to send UPS and Fed Ex packages in the new mailroom.
There will be ample performance space in the Warch Center, with three large performance spaces — each the size of Riverview — on the second floor that can be combined to form one huge performance space complete with built-in speakers. Additionally, there will be an outdoor performance area, and the café will have a built-in stage.
The logo store will also be moved to a much larger space, and offer more merchandise. The new company being used for apparel is “Edun Live,” a company founded by U2’s Bono that offers organic and sustainable clothing.
A satellite box office will also be incorporated into the Warch Center, so students will not have to trek all the way over to the con to purchase performance tickets.
The fourth floor of the Warch Center will house all of the Campus Life offices, as well as LUCC meeting places and — this we’re excited about — The Lawrentian and other publication offices and workspaces. In addition, this floor will have a huge lounge with seating areas to meet, student organization storage, and a student workspace complete with paper-cutters, button-makers, scissors, and other Diversity Center-esque supplies.
What about all of the old buildings? Contrary to popular belief, Downer will not turn into a dance studio. In fact, nothing is going to move into Downer. For right now, the plan is to turn off the heat and lights and lock the building.
Due to the inefficiency of the building, and its inability to be anything but a cafeteria until major renovation is done, Downer will remain an empty building, a ghost of the old Lawrence.
The union will undergo renovation, but will remain open and house all of the programs that work between Lawrentians and our community — the Volunteer Center, ArtsBridge, senior experience, and the like.
For those of you who noticed that the crane is missing, that might clue you in that all the major construction has been completed. The plan is for the building to be completed and fully functional by the time athletes arrive for pre-season this August. Nineteen years in the making, the Warch Center is about to make its debut. Seven months and counting.