Contractual delay holds up Einstein Bros. construction
Simon Hall franchise to open this spring
Olin Business School students were hoping that a full service eatery would return to Simon Hall later this month, but the University is delaying its plan to install an Einstein Bros. Bagels franchise in Simon Hall until next semester because contract negotiations took longer than the administration expected.
Currently, students can purchase one rotating flavor of soup, yogurt parfaits and a variety of to-go sandwiches from a cart in Simon Hall operated by Aramark.
“I’m just kind of unhappy with the selection of food that exists,” sophomore business student Jason Yakabu said. “I think it really changes the culture of the B-school because there aren’t many students just hanging out in the lounge anymore because there’s not as much food.”
The only hint of construction is a sign in front of an express computer lab. The sign says the bagel chain will be coming to that location soon.
The University is waiting for St. Louis County to approve the architectural proposals before construction can start.
According to Brian Bannister, the associate dean for administration in the business school, the planned November date was based on guesswork. The University hoped that the contract negotiations and construction would be done by November, but the contract negotiations took longer to finish than expected.
“Essentially as things go back and forth between legal departments of organizations, getting all the particulars satisfactory to both organizations just took longer than we thought it would,” Bannister said. “Typically, we agreed on a lot of the substantive items pretty quickly, but getting all the details squared away is what took extra time.”
By the time the negotiations were completed, the administration decided that it did not make sense to rush the construction for a November opening. Instead, University officials decided that it would be better to open Einstein Bros. in January.
Bannister expects that construction won’t significantly interfere with students’ lives.
“We think it will be minimal impact at this point,” Bannister said. “And of course we are going to make sure that our students won’t be disrupted around the important days around finals.”
The construction will take place away from other important areas in the building since there are no classrooms near the future site of the Einstein Bros. The closest area to the construction is the Undergraduate Student Lounge.
An e-mail was sent out to business school students on Nov. 8 informing them of the delay.
Bannister has not heard complaints from students about the delay in opening the Einstein Bros.
“I’ve only heard an inquiry or two,” Bannister said. “We think that by providing some alternative food service in the building in this time, we have been able to help the students and provide for their needs before Einstein’s is ready.”
When construction does begin on Einstein Bros., the University will have to close the computer-express station that Einstein Bros. will occupy.
Students use the express stations before class to quickly print out work and lecture slides or to check their e-mail.
“That space [for the express lab] is really convenient because it’s right in the hallway,” Yakabu said.
According to Bannister, the computers will be moved to other express labs in the building, both in the Undergraduate Student Lounge and near the Graduate Student Lounge.
But he still feels that the new food option will be for the best.
“It’s all going to plan, just taking longer than we hoped,” Bannister said. “We’re just excited that we’re offering this; we think it will be well-received by the community.”