PLANS to install a student shop in the Newstead Building have been postponed for two years. Concerns over a lack of suitable space in the current building means that a shop will not be constructed until the second stage of the building’s development begins in 2010.
Newstead Facilities Manager, Prof. Michael Bruen, verified that he will exploring the possibilities of opening a student shop when the extension is complete. “Our preference would be to have a permanent shop available in the building and, possibly when the whole complex gets developed, that may happen,” Prof. Bruen said.
He confirmed that the Newstead Building Committee had previously offered two spaces to the Students’ Union (SU) to open a shop but these were rejected for being “unsuitable”.
One of the short-term solutions to the lack of facilities in Newstead that is to be implemented is the addition of vending machines in the building. SU President, Aodhán Ó Deá, stated that a sandwich vending machine has been ordered. It is expected that this will be installed within the coming fortnight and that other vending machines will also be ordered once sufficient storage space is allocated.
Prof. Bruen acknowledged that although a shop would have been the preferred choice, vending machines are considered the “second best option”. He spoke positively of the introduction of the machines, however Prof. Bruen questioned the location of these as the machines must be positioned near water and power supplies.
Mr Ó Deá’s proposal to sell newspapers, sandwiches and confectionary from a cart that would be wheeled to Newstead has been rejected, following a negative response from students and staff. The students “reacted badly” to this, according to Mr Ó Deá, as the cart would be rolled away again at the end of the day, while Prof. Bruen acknowledged that the cart would not be suitable for students studying in the evenings.
“It certainly wouldn’t be economical for them to have [the cart] for the whole period [in] which the building is open to students,” said Prof. Bruen.
Echoing Prof. Bruen’s statement, Mr Ó Deá argued that “the main benefit of vending machines is that they will be there all day long. Students who will be in [the building] until ten o’clock at night could go get tea and a sandwich.”
As well as installing vending machines, the SU are also considering the possibility of selling stationary at the main desk of Newstead, however, Mr Ó Deá admitted that this plan isn’t expected to come into effect in the near future.