The Log, the student bar and hangout on Spring Street, reopened this week after undergoing renovations this summer, holding its first Thursday night dance party of the year on Sept. 20.
During the past two years, the Log has become part of the Committee of Undergraduate Life’s (CUL) plan to develop a transitional student center until the Baxter renovation project is complete.
The CUL’s proposal for the Log included renovations of the building, the use of the upper level for a meeting space as well as offices and the building of a welcoming and comfortable environment within the Log.
The committee wishes to create a “sense of place” on campus that will draw students of diverse affiliations. The Log Committee, co-chaired by Emily Steinhagen ’04 and Steve Eyre ’03, is overseeing the project.
The Log’s renovations included the replacement of the kitchen floor and the repainting and wallpapering of the upstairs portion of the building, but the building still needs new electrical wiring, new lighting, and a new fire alarm system. The CUL also approved major physical changes to the building, but these plans are continuously changing.
All of these renovations were to be finished over this past summer by the same company that was renovating the Greylock dorms. Due to time issues and the use of the Log by the Williamstown Theatre Festival, however, the remaining renovations to the Log were postponed until next summer.
The planning of the renovation of the Log began two years ago. An active member in the early stages of the planning was Tom McEvoy, director of housing and a member of the CUL. McEvoy wanted to recapture the pub charm of past years. As part of the project, he toured campus pubs in the Northeast, including Bowdoin, Bates and Colby. His observations are part of the Log committee’s and CUL’s plans to renovate the Log.
The Log itself has a rich history. In the 1970s, when the drinking age was eighteen, the Log was a popular place for both students and professors.
In fact, the Log was declared the best campus bar in the nation. The Log’s popularity continues to this day. “The Log is the only place where everyone on campus goes to party,” said Jack Linehan ’05. “It’s always a good time.” Students over the years have continuously wanted to make the building more accessible to students.
As a student center, the Log will act as a place for students to spend time in a comfortable and relaxed setting. Every Thursday night, the Log will host its traditional dance party, but, according to Steinhagen, “the rest of the time the atmosphere [will be] much more mellow.” For example, on Sundays from 12-8 p.m., the Log will be open to watch Sunday football, making use of the Log’s large screen television.
The Log currently does not have set regular hours, but the Log committee is trying to create a more informal environment for students. As part of their attempt, they would like to see the installation of a card reader, which would provide 24-hour access to the building.
In past years, the Log was used for events such as the spring semi-formal and the halloween dance, as well as prize nights and TV show theme nights. Different activities for this year are still in the planning stage. One change at the Log that students already appreciate is the use of the money strip on the ID card to purchase drinks.
The upstairs floor of the Log is where most of next summer’s renovations will take place, and will include a meeting space for the Log Committee and other possible organizations such as House Presidents, Frosh Council and Student Activities Council. Other campus organizations are also free to make use of the space.
While the offices on the upper floor have yet to be filled, they may become home to the Log manager, the dining service employees working at the Log and Jean Thorndike, Director of Security.
Thursday’s dance party was well attended despite the rain. In fact, the Log was filled over fire capacity. Steinhagen said, “The opening night was exciting in that so many people wanted to be there.”
The only problems with the opening night were student dissatisfaction with the requirement of bringing a student ID and noise complaints from the local apartments. The noise was not due to the party itself, but rather the people yelling outside of the Log.
The Log committee is hoping that they can stress to students the need to lower their voices outside the Log for future events, as well as the importance for security reasons of carrying their ID.