Coffee Bar Improvements and the End of the Faculty Lounge

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Kohlberg Coffee Bar was shut down all summer for renovations, to the dismay of those on campus. The construction is now completed, though, and it will be open for business with the start of classes on Monday. In the process, the old faculty lounge was converted into a offices for the Film and Media Studies department.

Employee Katie Corbett sitting on the new counter in the coffee bar. Photo by Dougal Sutherland.

Project manager Susan Smythe said that these renovations were initially started because the coffee bar needed a lowered counter “to accommodate persons with disabilities.” Although the coffee bar in its former incarnation did have a lowered section, it was also the only way in and out of the space, so it was inconvenient for employees, who had to raise and lower it every time they went in and out.

So Facilities added a back door onto the nearby corridor, allowing for a more accessible counter (which has actually not been added yet — that will come next summer) and a little more space to move around in and store things. Coffee Bar employee Katie Corbett said that she was excited about having this extra space, which will mean less trips to the basement for her and her coworker Michelle. When only one of them is there, these restocking trips are a challenge: “I don’t think the current volume of sales and activity was ever anticipated,” said Smythe.

The coffee bar’s services to customers, however, will not see any major changes, said Corbett. There are a few new products, most notably the “old-school” bottles of Coke (a surprising change given the successful campaign to “Kick Coke” in 2006) and Coca-Cola product Powerade. (Fountain drinks in Sharples and vending machines are currently still Pepsi products; the Gazette will have more details soon.)

Creating this additional space required moving the wall back into the former lounge, so that area was up for a reworking. Meanwhile, the English department needed more office space in LPAC, which Film and Media Studies used to call home. Smythe said it “seemed sensible to relocate a discrete program” rather than split up only some members of a department, so the lounge area was converted into three offices for Film and Media Studies. Patty White and Bob Rehak, the department’s two permanent faculty members, each have an office, as does the visiting professor Denise Iris.

Rehak is “thrilled” about the move. The department will have more conferencing abilities, more storage space, and an extra office for Iris. They’ll also be closer to faculty in Modern Languages and Literature with whom they collaborate, though Rehak says he’ll miss seeing colleagues in the English department so often. Plus, he added, “It doesn’t hurt to be just inches away from the Kohlberg coffee bar!”


  1. Why does Kohlberg not have that white powder that comes in a can and does not taste like anything, but that somehow makes drinks better? Science Center has it.

    "Vanilla" powder.


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