Courtesy of Cornell University

Concept art for what the Cocktail Lounge will look like after renovations.

January 20, 2019

Closing Time: Uris Cocktail Lounge Closed Until May for Renovations

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Students gearing up for all-nighters must seek alternative venues — it is closing time at the Cocktail Lounge.

The study location in Uris Library is closed until mid- to late-May to undergo renovations, which will change the seating, lighting, bathrooms, technological capabilities and accessibility of the 24-hour study space.

The Cocktail Lounge first opened in 1982 as an annex to the Uris Library. The decor of the 37-year-old space has been worn down since its last upgrades years ago, said Director of Olin and Uris Libraries Bonna Boettcher, making the renovations timely.

The renovations will include new carpets, an all-gender restroom, modernized furniture in the reservable study rooms, a vending area with refreshments and upgraded bathrooms to meet Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

Other renovations of the library include refurbished seating areas and updated light fixtures to maximize the views of Libe Slope. Movable seating will allow for “greater flexibility” of the space, said facilities planning manager Jon Ladley.

“New interior lighting will accentuate the curved nature of the space, and seating areas that allow for better views through the central windows will be added,” Ladley said. “We also added power outlets wherever possible, which were insufficient in the old space.”

The added seating will also accommodate different study styles, according to Ladley.

“The seating capacity won’t change dramatically, but the type of seating will,” Ladley told The Sun in an email. “The new furniture was selected, with student input, to accommodate a variety of study styles on the upper and lower levels.”

A vending area will be incorporated into the renovations due to student feedback about the lack of availability of hot beverages and snacks, Ladley said. The area will be self-service and located near the elevator in a “newly constructed alcove,” Ladley said.

Additionally, the Cocktail Lounge entrance facing Willard Straight Hall will be open for the first time since 1982 once the renovation is complete. A Cornell I.D. will be necessary to use that entrance and it will also be ADA compliant, according to Boettcher.

“As far as we know, the south-facing (Willard Straight) entrance was never opened for public use, but only available as an emergency exit,” Boettcher told The Sun in an email. “Inaccessibility has been a motivator in not using the entrance, and part of this project involves regrading, relandscaping, and relighting the entrance so it meets ADA standards.”

Improvements also included a small asbestos abatement project which was completed in December, according to Boettcher.

In February 2018, the library administration teased the renovations by placing different furniture and seating styles for students to test out. Students then had opportunities to share their feedback for different seating styles through comment sheets and one-on-one interviews, Boettcher said.

“Student input was important to the project,” Boettcher said. “We value our users’ opinions and concerns and regularly seek input, especially in projects involving user spaces.”

The rest of Uris Library will remain open throughout the renovations of the lounge, and library administrators encouraged patrons to explore other options while the lounge is closed.

Current 24-hour study spaces, according to the library website, include Carpenter Hall on the Engineering Quad and the Edna McConnell Clark Library in the Physical Sciences Library.