By Madeline VandenHouten

“The college has a very strong interest in sharing knowledge and expertise with the community. This is will be a great way to bring them together.”

Ripon College has been making strides to become more involved with the Ripon community. Last year, the college increased its downtown presence with the 314: Ripon College Project Space. This space was created as a multi-purpose venue for events such as art exhibits, poetry readings, lectures, speakers, performances and community functions.

This spring the college will be implementing more plans for stronger involvement with downtown Ripon. Over winter break, the college began making renovations to 329 Watson Street, the space adjacent to J’s BBQ restaurant.

“The space, known as Bovay’s, is going to be a multi-functional venue with a primary focus on student engagement and community relations,” said Melissa Anderson, vice president of marketing and communications at Ripon College. “We’ve designed it to be a hip downtown space for students to congregate, study and purchase Ripon College merchandise.”

A study space is not all that 329 Watson will be intended to provide for Ripon College students. The college has worked with Mugs Coffee House to cater an espresso bar in the evenings from 7 to 10 p.m. to cater to student demands for late night coffee. This service is expected to be available within the next few weeks.

“Bovay’s is intended to be a flexible space with nice dim lighting, comfortable study areas, college Wi-Fi and network access, a television to show college games and other popular shows, and a venue for student groups to host events, such as Ripon Live programming, poets and comedians,” Anderson said.

According to Jessica Joanis, assistant dean of students, students eventually will be able to use their Rally Dollars to pay for Mugs Coffee and J’s BBQ later this semester. Rally Dollars can be added to student accounts through the use of the myRipon Portal. Parents and friends can gift Rally Dollars to students when given a student’s ID number and birthday.

With hours of operation of noon to 10 p.m., student organizations will have plenty of time throughout the day to rent the space to hold meetings and events. The college plans to hire two part-time student interns during the academic year and one full-time student intern over this semester.

Not only is this a space designed for studying, group meetings, buying Red Hawk merchandise and Mugs coffee, it also will serve as an educational space. The back portion of the building has been renovated into a classroom complete with desks, a projection screen, whiteboard and a faculty office.

The education and English departments will hold some classes in the downtown facility this semester. However, students and faculty may utilize this space for class and projects throughout the semester.

Students, faculty and staff as well as Ripon community members are encouraged to go downtown and spend time at Bovay’s. Whether you want to grab a latte, watch a college game, attend a class, or rent the space for a private party, the space has something for everyone.