Che Cafe Closes Doors for On-Site Renovations

Photo by Taylor Sanderson/Guardian
Photo by Taylor Sanderson/Guardian

UCSD’s Che Cafe will be closed during the next academic year while the building undergoes infrastructure renovations.

University Centers Advisory Board Chair Sammy Chang told A.S. Council during its May 7 meeting that the facility need the constructural changes to be in compliance with safety regulations. 

During the renovation, the Che Cafe Co-operative — the current tenant of the Che Cafe facility and responsible party for planning events and maintaining operations at the cafe — will still organize events which will take place at Porter’s Pub over the next year.

“We need to try to balance the reserves. University centers started accumulating all these random projects, so now we’re running a deficit,” Chang said at the May 7 meeting. “The fire marshal will close down the Che Café if the school doesn’t comply with all the expenses.” 

According to the facility report, the renovations will cost $1.5 million to complete in one fiscal year. University Centers spent $43,210.75 in the 2013–14 fiscal year on additional exit doors, outlets, signage (such as for exits, capacity limits and smoking), lock replacements and so forth.

University Centers plans to spend $854,212 toward the Che Cafe during the 2014–15 fiscal year on restroom renovations, fire sprinklers and alarms and operational expenses. Operational expenses are expected to cost $15,000 annually.

A draft of survey data on the priorities and use of University Centers resources showed that 83 percent of responders answered that they never attend shows at Che Cafe when they visit Price Center or the Student Center. Thirty-nine percent voted operating the Che facility as “very low priority,” while 37 percent selected “low priority.”

Opponents of the Che Cafe closure launched a petition on May 13 called “Save the Che from Closing!” The petition had 2,775 supporters at press time and proposed that Che Cafe remain operating until the university has enough funds to renovate the cafe. 

“The proposal to relocate the Che Cafe was given without underlying proof and documentation that the space is unsafe,” opposers claimed in the petition. “The repairs cited have been in their current condition without any health and safety incident for years, with the University never mentioning it until now as a reason to shut down even after the 2010 Facilities Report.”