AUSTIN HOOD ’21 | STAFF WRITER • Wabash College is an institution where change happens pretty infrequently. Wallies of all ages often delight in knowing that life on campus today is similar to how it was many decades ago. However, a change is coming to Wabash, and campus leaders are betting it will be a hit.
A pub is currently being constructed in the area of the Frank Hugh Sparks Center formerly known as the Forbes Lounge. This pub, which will be open to all ages on Thursday through Sunday nights, is projected to be complete within the next two weeks.
The project began 18 months ago as an outgrowth of conversations about life on campus spearheaded by Dean of Students Michael Raters ‘85. Through a series of surveys that engaged students and alumni, the Ad Hoc Committees on College Life determined that there is a lack of common spaces at Wabash.
“What we found through the campus life conversations was that a lot of fraternity guys don’t feel comfortable in Sparks. They see it as belonging to the independents,” Chief of Staff Jim Amidon ’87 said. “What we’re hoping is that this will be a common ground where people can come together and engage one another.”
The pub is operating as proof of a concept for further, long-term improvements to various student facilities, including the Sparks Center being discussed in the context of the College’s bicentennial.
“I think everyone involved has seen this as a labor of love for the college,” Chief Financial Officer Kendra Cooks said. “This project really showcases the things that our community is passionate about, community and visual beauty. And I mean who doesn’t enjoy getting together over some good food and a drink?” Bon Appetit sous-chef Jason Anderson worked closely with Associate Professor of History Rick Warner, who worked as a chef for 12 years and owned an Irish pub for 16 years, to create a menu that will appeal to students, faculty, and alumni.
“The interesting thing about this pub from a business perspective is that there’s really two kind of clientele,” Warner said. “There’s faculty, alumni, people with resources who’ll be willing to spend money on a nicer product and then there’s students, who won’t. The food and drink menu will reflect this.”
Among the food offering beings discussed are a la carte items such as potato chips and sliders, and full plates including Carolina-style Crab Cakes and ribeye steak sandwiches. The hope is to keep all food under $12 a meal. A number of beers ranging in price from $4 to $6 will be on tap, and the pub will offer a selection of red and white wines for $5 to $7.
Despite not being named yet, the new pub will look to be a local watering hole for students, alumni, and faculty at Wabash. We look forward to our new addition and hope that the pub is here to stay.