case western reserve university



SAGES Café set to open Fall 2005

In its first year as a program for all incoming students, SAGES is acquiring a suitably prominent home on the Case campus. Having begun as a renovation of the undergraduate curriculum, SAGES (the Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship) has now inspired an equally ambitious renovation of quad-level Crawford Hall. The results will be on view in September with the opening of SAGES Central—a mix of educational, administrative, and social spaces, all constructed around the new SAGES Café.

“This project creates a novel, highly visible center for intellectual and social activity at the heart of the Case campus,” said Vera Tobin, faculty and program development assistant in Arts and Sciences, who is overseeing the café’s operations.

The transformation of quad-level Crawford into SAGES Central began in March 2005. Previously, the original marble-and-glass lobby had been partitioned into a variety of unrelated offices, with no connection to the large patio encircling the building. No one tarried, or had reason to tarry, in the stark space before the elevators. But now, said Arts and Sciences Dean Mark Turner, “First-floor Crawford puts SAGES on stage: you will be able to look into it from any point and see our signature undergraduate program in operation. Here are students in the glasswalled seminar room; there are students and professors conversing at the café; around the corner are the SAGES Fellows conferring with students about their work.”

Ken Klika, director of facilities management for Arts and Sciences, has his own metaphor for SAGES Central. “To me,” he said, “the space now looks like a lighthouse, a beacon. And it fits the vision we had from the beginning: that the space would be visible from many different directions, that it would be open, that it would be inviting, that it would be a place where you would want to do some scholarly work or just chit-chat with faculty and students.”

Klika, who oversaw the renovation from its inception, said that the café is his favorite part. “But I’m tickled with all of the space, at how it all turned out. And I think it will look even better once we get the glass doors in on the sides and remodel the vestibule. The glass windows were the natural elements that the building already had; now we can let the campus look inside and see SAGES.”

The café will be open day and night, serving Peet’s coffee and tea (“SAGES deserves no less,” said Turner) as well as sandwiches and salads. In addition, the baristas at the café will become a first point of contact with SAGES, providing basic information for students, visiting scholars, and donors.

Klika describes himself as a “faithful servant” of the university’s collective vision for SAGES. But Turner views his contribution differently. “Ken accepted the challenge of creating a home for SAGES that integrated its intellectual, cultural, and social aspirations,” he said. “His genius has been to give SAGES a habitation that represents and serves its mission.”