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Den renovations coming this summer

By Chris Adams, March 19 2015 —

Denizens of the University of Calgary’s most popular watering hole can expect it to look a little fresher next fall.

The Students’ Union will renovate the Den over the summer, bringing in new tables, chairs and lighting. The campus pub hasn’t been renovated in almost 13 years.

“That is pretty crazy for a bar,” said Students’ Union vice-president Adam Swertz. “Things are starting to look out of date and there’s a lot of traffic that goes through the Den. It understandably takes a little bit of a beating.”

Swertz said they want to modernize the Den’s image. Additions include beer-hall seating, a repainted floor and re-coloured brick in a grey Chicago-style.

He said modeling the Den’s seating after National, a pub chain in downtown Calgary, is the best choice for a university.

“It’s very communal. It has a student feel. If you want to pack a bunch of friends into a table, you can get as close as you like,” Swertz said. “It’s part of the vibe of campus. People like to be shoulder to shoulder with their friends.”

Renovations won’t change the layout of the Den, and the number of occupants won’t increase as a result. The entire bar will get the same upgrades, including the dance-floor.

The Den’s central bar will see slight changes, including new counters and decorative rack space above the bar to store glasses.

The wall behind the bar will be replaced with a transparent mesh material. The SU will only renovate the Den, leaving the Black Lounge untouched.

Although Swertz called the renovation “extremely necessary,” the changes won’t be major. Students will still recognize the Den when it’s finished.

“It will still very much be the Thursden we’re used to. It’ll just be much more structured,” Swertz said.

The SU’s go-to architectural firm, Nyhoff Architectural, will present their design for the renovation at Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) on Tuesday, March 24. SLC will then vote on the proposal the following week.

Nyhoff’s previous design work for the SU includes the Q Centre, the SU Club Space and the U of C Bookstore. They’ve also designed the Alberta Legislative Assembly’s gift shop, the Lethbridge Community Arts Centre and the Calgary Cultural Corridor.

Although the cost of the renovation isn’t final, Swertz said it will likely cost around $400,000. He said they want to spend enough money to make a difference without overspending.

“It takes an unfathomable amount of money to make a really really big difference in a place that big. It’s way bigger than it feels like on a Thursden. A little bit of money doesn’t go very far,” Swertz said.

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