New Life for the Lair 

Rhodes students have their say in renovation of college hangout.

"Try to mimic the Flying Saucer in terms of beer presentation and selection." That isn't the type of order typically given to a college dining service, but Rhodes students aren't complaining.

The school's "Lynx Lair" was envisioned as a one-stop sandwich shop with a muted sports theme and some table games to pass the time -- an alternative to the "Harry Potter" feel of Rhodes' daunting main cafeteria. But faced with soaring food prices and a lack of student patronage, Rhodes Student Government (RSG) decided it was time for a change.

"Students have always given feedback to Aramark [the dining services company] and student government about the facility's food options, wait times, and flexibility as a space student groups could use or simply hang out in," says RSG president Andy Greer. "Over the years, layers of Band-Aid solutions have been applied: expanding the menu, adding refrigerated display cases, adding pool tables, adding booths. While these changes improved the facility a little, none addressed the core problem: The Lair feels exactly like its name -- a giant, open space where everyone feels exposed."

Greer hosted a series of focus groups in early September to assess student wants and needs and compiled his findings into a downloadable report( that RSG would present to architects. The "Flying Saucer" suggestion was just one of the conclusions of the report, which also emphasized better food selection and a smaller, more private atmosphere.

"When students enter the facility, they won't feel like they're on a catwalk," Greer says. "The entrance will shift to the patio, and there will be three zones, each with a separate feel: a pub area, an open area with the stage in the middle, and a softer seating area. The food-service area will be greatly expanded and will include separate stations for different types of food. Southwestern-style cuisine and a brick pizza oven are some examples."

Student involvement didn't end after the focus groups, however. Greer created "Redo the Lair" on the networking Web site as a forum for students to voice their opinions, and he also put up a comment board in the entrance to the Lair. He gave those comments to the architects in official meetings in January and February.

"I really feel like the student feedback throughout this process has been, and will continue to be, the driving force of the design," he says. "Students need to feel ownership of any space to make it successful, and I feel like this space reflects their input and not what 'the administrators' thought would be good."

Construction begins after school lets out in May and should be complete by the time students return in August. Rhodes is contracting with Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas, the architects who worked on the Paul Barret Jr. Library and the "East Village" on-campus apartment complex.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

    • Trials on Trial

      Shelby County District Attorney General’s office again targeted for misconduct.
    • Gateway to Frayser

      New development promises economic boost to North Memphis.


News Blog

Tennessee Breaks Record for Student Aid Requests

News Blog

MLGW's Water Test Comes Back Clean

Fly On The Wall Blog

RDC Announces Plan to Raise Atlantis

News Blog

New Vision Unveiled for Riverfront

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (July 20-26)

Music Blog

The Secret Service rides again

We Saw You

Beauty Shop birthday, Sache Sunday, HEELS, Park + Cherry

Fly On The Wall Blog

Memphis Billboard Contains Porn


More by Zac Hill

Readers also liked…

© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation