E-Level Club the New 'Place to Be' Scene By Christine A. Rowett When construction began on E-Level, the new Homewood campus student pub on the main floor of Levering Hall, someone found a brass bucket in the ceiling space. It had been put there, presumably, to contain a leak sometime in the last 31 years. Last Friday, when the pub had its official grand opening, the brass bucket_newly polished and hung with pride_was once again attached to the ceiling, as a symbol of the past meeting the future. "It adds a certain amount of funk to the space," said director of design and construction services Brendan Donegan. "And quite frankly, that's what we wanted to do." In addition to the unique design features, E-Level offers Homewood students one thing that has been lacking in the past few years: a place to hang out. The space the pub occupies has been completely renovated, erasing any memories of the student offices that used to be there. Instead, a circular mahogany bar takes up one wall, and small intimate tables are strategically placed out of earshot of the more private booths. A game room is a just a hallway away, and includes pool tables and several video games. "I actually thought it was going to be kind of dorky," admitted senior Zayda San-chez, "but it's looking good. I think it's a good idea." When Sanchez arrived at Hopkins, there was no such club. The year before, the Grad Club in McCoy was closed after that dorm was converted to housing for first- and second-year students. Then, in a genuine case of Hopkins musical chairs, several administrative offices, including Auxiliary Services and the Homewood business office, were moved from Merryman Hall to the "terrace" of Shriver Hall. Then the majority of student group offices were moved from Levering Hall to the vacated space in Merryman. "Finally it was decided Levering would be the right place for another club," Dean of Students Susan Boswell said. So a board of directors consisting of six students and five administrators got to work. Senior architectural designer Pamela Vite, who had worked on the design of the student union at the University of Pennsylvania, created the look of E-Level, while the students gave it its name. The inspiration for the name came from D-Level of the Eisenhower Library, where dedicated students spend hundreds of waking and non-waking hours with their books and their studies. "Where do you go after D-Level?" Dean Boswell asked. "It kind of fits." All Hopkins students know the levels of the Eisenhower Library, sophomore Jennifer Nevin said. They spend a great deal of time there. "I think it makes fun of us," the studious Nevin said of the pub's moniker. "It's like, maybe people will come if they think it's part of the library." They may also go for the menu, which includes pizza, potato skins and popcorn. "It's amazing the variety of microwave-ready foods that are available," Dean Boswell said. Student Activities coordinator Gary Van Zinderen also hopes to add a "healthy fare" menu, including low- and non-fat foods. E-Level also serves sodas and a variety of juices; plans are in the works for a cappuccino machine. Wine and beer will be served only to those with valid ID. Though Van Zinderen will oversee E-Level, between 20 and 25 students will work at the pub, two as managers. "The competition is pretty stiff," said Bill Smedick, director of Student Activities. "There are a lot of students applying to work there." There are even special "event staff" personnel who have been specifically trained to handle crowds when alcohol and the threat of "behavior problems" are present, Smedick said. The pub cost about $175,000 to renovate, Donegan said. Money raised through the sale of alcohol and food will be put toward everyday operations and entertainment at the pub. Possible plans for the pub include Monday night football parties, musical guests and dancing. "You can't really sit with your friends and have a drink at someplace that's not a dive around here," senior Sanchez said. "I hope all students take advantage of it." E-Level will be open Mondays through Wednesdays from 5 p.m. until midnight, Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., and Sundays from noon until 10 p.m.
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