Plans rolling to reopen the Log

Posted
Saturday February 13, 2010

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Williams College officials are considering a student-generated proposal which would result in regular hours for the Log, a small white college-owned building on Spring Street that once functioned as a social center with a pub-like setting.

Since it closed in 2007 to coincide with the opening of the Paresky Center on the campus proper, students have regularly expressed a yearning for the Log’s reopening, saying it would fill a void in the social life of many college students.

This proposal, submitted by members of an association of students dedicated to improving the college and student life known as the Gargoyle Society, laid out limited hours and days of operation, with a short menu of beer and wine, and a limited menu of sandwiches.

According to Steve Klass, vice president of operations at the college, the latest proposal is well thought out.

He called it a "well-written, reasonable proposal with limited days and hours and a limited menu."

After reading over the proposal, Klass said it was just missing a couple of key pieces, which the students are working on. Once that is done, college officials will study the possibilities.

The student governmental body, the College Council, endorsed the idea on Jan. 27 with 14 votes in favor, three opposed and two abstaining.

The resolution the council passed said, in part, "A reopened Log could serve as a venue for a diverse array of students, faculty, staff, and authorized guests to come together and share in an eclectic blend of positive social activities" with a "subdued, pub-like atmosphere that encourages moderation."

The council also resolved to commit up to $20,000 to the Log to cover any operating deficit during its first year.

Klass said that while the proposal seems well-prepared and the concept sound, "it would require the college to increase its staffing when we’ve been cutting back."

There are also a number of "complex legalities and risk management factors" that must be studied before any decision is made, he noted.

But it is the most complete proposal he has seen coming from the student body.

"There’s really nothing substantial they neglected -- it’s just a little incomplete. And [the students] have been great to work with," Klass said.

He said the process of considering all the impacts would take a few weeks.

Recently, the Log has served as a venue for special events and a lecture series. Many alumni have expressed fond memories of times spent at the Log.

Some nearby Spring Street merchants like the idea of reopening the venue for regular hours.

"The more activities on Spring Street the better," said Steve Hinchliffe, owner of the recently opened Nature’s Closet. "We need to keep the students coming to Spring Street."

Ken Gietz, co-owner of Where’d You Get That, said that when the Log was open on a regular basis, it didn’t pose a problem.

"If they’re looking to set it up for the students to have lunch or supper, I think that would be great," he said. "It would bring more students downtown like it did before. I’m in favor of anything that brings more students to Spring Street."

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 496-6241.


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