“Daniel” Seho Park goes to the Union Starbucks every day after class to chat with friends and de-stress over a cup of black coffee. He usually stays four to five hours. But Park and many Union Starbucks regulars won’t be able to relax at the iconic location after it officially closes on Nov. 29.
The closing will have students including Park scrambling to find a new study spot during finals week as the new Melville Library Starbucks isn’t set to open until next semester on Jan. 23.
“I feel really bad [about the closing] as a person who really has to and only can study in a place where there is white noise,” Park, a junior business major, said. “And also because I love Starbucks, I would have some hard time finding some place to study.”
The other Starbucks locations on campus will not have extended hours during the time between the closing of the Union Starbucks and the opening of the library Starbucks, Angela Agnello, Faculty Student Association (FSA) director of marketing and communications, said.
The other locations — Roth Café Starbucks, the Starbucks Truck and the Starbucks in the hospital building — do not offer the same study environment, students say.
“Roth Starbucks doesn’t have a place to sit and study,” Sahar Siddiqui, senior psychology major and a Union Starbucks regular, said. “It’s just kind of like you get a coffee and you leave.”
A popular spot, the Union location often has lines out the door and seats at full capacity.
The new library Starbucks will have about 65 seats and will be 2,500 square feet, the same size and similar seating capacity as the current Union location, Agnello said. However, the new location will not have the additional seating offered in Wolfie’s Lounge, which is right next door to the Union Starbucks.
“While the Starbucks at the library won’t have the additional seating capacity of Wolfie’s Lounge,” Agnello said, “there are green zone study spaces throughout the library available for conversation, sealable containers for beverages, and dry snacks.”
Park expressed disappointment after hearing the news.
“What they’re suggesting is that they’re going to reduce the number of seats, and that means they will reduce the size of the meeting place for people,” Park said. “So, I think the very essence of the Starbucks is being reduced.”
Although the new location won’t have as many seats, Union Starbucks regulars hope the library Starbucks will still be an upgrade from the current location, which some describe as in need of repairs.
“I would say it’s broken down proletariat,” Charles Haddad, a professor in the School of Journalism and a Union Starbucks regular, said. “The furniture is broken down, the lighting stinks, sometimes I can’t come here because it’s so stifling hot or they don’t turn on the heat, it’s not a great place to work but you didn’t have many choices ten years ago when it opened.”
Another improvement Union Starbucks regulars would like to see is more outlets.
“Okay, so there needs to be more outlets,” Siddiqui said. “They should definitely make more outlets because I feel like it’s kind of a struggle, like I only got that outlet today because I was the first person here.”
The design of the new location will model the current layout at nearby Starbucks locations, which feature dark wood and a more modern look, John Fogarty, the director of campus planning, design and construction, said.
Currently, the general floor plan indicates that there will be a coffee bar with seats, lounge chairs and two communal tables with chairs.
“There will be at least 12 duplex outlets mounted into walls by the seats and tables, meaning at least 24 devices can be plugged in at any one time,” Fogarty said. “Possibly more if the communal tables come in with additional built-in ports.”
Once constructed, the library will be Starbucks’ new permanent home on the north side of campus, as a new Starbucks will not be built when the Union Commons is renovated, Howard Gunston, the director of facilities operations at the Stony Brook Union and the Student Activities Center, said.