Makeover for Mallinckrodt?
With DUC presence, future of the building is currently unsure
While the Danforth University Center will attract a large part of the student body this year, fewer will pass through Mallinckrodt Center for a midday break.
However, with a loading dock, kitchen facilities, an expanding bookstore and the Edison Theatre, Mallinckrodt will remain as it is for the foreseeable future.
Several Washington University administrators plan to meet within the next few months to construct a long-term plan for the campus center.
The Danforth University Center (DUC), complete with a diner, café, bistro and cafeteria-style food, will take over as the main on-campus dining option.
The DUC also houses the offices of several student groups, the Career Center, the Graduate Center and Student Union.
Aside from Hilltop Bakery, which will remain on the first floor for pre-made sandwiches and pastries, Mallinckrodt will no longer offer lunch.
Steve Rackers, the manager of capital projects markets for the University, says that while no formal decisions have been made, the open space in Mallinckrodt could be used to expand the bookstore.
“We want to maintain the viability of the bookstore,” Rackers said, adding that with less daily foot traffic, the bookstore will need to become more visible to people who pass by. “There is a desire to keep pedestrians coming to the building.”
At present, the University has no formal timetable for a redevelopment of Mallinckrodt, Rackers said, because most resources are focused on a smooth beginning to the school year.
“As always, when something new opens up, there is a desire to wait for people to settle in,” Rackers said.
He anticipates that the basement in Mallinckrodt may be needed for temporary overflow seating, as the DUC will likely not be able to accommodate the rush of customers in the onset of the academic year. Rackers predicts that the crowds at the DUC will subside as the novelty of the location wears off.
While the space may be vacant now, students saw the need for a change last year.
“I think the space was depressing and somber,” sophomore Jaspur Min said, referring to the condition of the basement cafeteria as it was last year. “If they created a nice atmosphere—brighter and more welcoming—for reading and hanging out, I think it would be a great place to meet up with your friends and relax in the middle of the day.”
As is customary with most on-campus space considerations, students will be given the chance to offer their own ideas to the University before any final decisions are made regarding the open area, Rackers said.
Rackers added that a major redevelopment project, which would involve a restructuring of the bookstore and the possible addition of several offices to the building, was put on hold for the start of the school year.
Currently, the Mallinckrodt kitchen is being utilized for food preparation for the University Center.
Senior David Yanofsky thinks the space provides room for the return of an on-campus favorite of students—a bar.
“That space could best be used as a bar, as a replacement to the old Rathskeller,” Yanofsky said, referring to the old on-campus pub that once sat in the basement of Umrath Hall. “I would also be open to the idea of putting retailers like J. Crew down there.”