Plans continue for construction of coffeehouse

ShamrAuction raises more than $100,000 for new facility

The+new+coffeehouse+will+be+located+in+the+Shiel+Student+Life+Center.+

Photo submitted

The new coffeehouse will be located in the Shiel Student Life Center.

Daniel Kent, Reporter

Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are two highly popular coffee chains at which students love to consume delicious drinks and pastries from. 

But these two chains might have some new competition come next fall: Johnny Mac’s Coffeehouse. Plans are underway for its construction, which will take place during June and July if the contracts are agreed upon. Chief operating officer Mr. Rolly Landeros said, “We are at the point now where we have a conceptual design and cost estimates to determine if we’re going to proceed.”

The cost is estimated to be between $300,000 to $450,000. According to senior director of advancement, Mrs. Michelle Taylor ‘01, the ShamrAuction raised $129,00 for the project. The coffeehouse was designated as the fund-a-need program of the auction. Taylor said this exceeded the goal of $100,000 for the shop. 

With a good portion of money still needed, Landeros said the school is looking into funding reserves to make a financially conscious decision, which reduces the cost expenses of the construction.

CSO, the company in charge of designing the coffeehouse, has formulated 2D schematic designs as well as 3D images. The shop will be located in the Shiel Student Life Center. Facilities coordinator Mrs. Gara Schommer said she hopes it will “create life for the SLC and enhance the name of the building.”

The 2D schematics depict a kitchen in place of the offices currently in the northwest corner of the SLC. The shop’s counters are set with espresso machines, blenders, brewers and other cafe appliances. The storefront has a refrigerated display case, and chairs, tables and other furniture are available for customers to enjoy their drinks and snacks on. 

Landeros said, “We looked at Brownsburg High School, Franklin Central and Westfield because they have coffee shops.” The school is gathering ideas from other schools’ coffeehouses in order to make a successful one on the Hill.

Envoy, the company that constructed the Innovation Center, will also be in charge of building the coffee shop. “(The coffeehouse) will have the same materials and finishes from a design perspective (as the Innovation Center). For example, the furniture will be the same that we have in the dining hall,” Landeros said.

Landeros noted that the construction process is just one component of the coffeehouse. He said, “The staffing process and (the) sustainability is a whole other area that needs to have details ironed out. We are working with academic teams and classroom teachers to see what that will look like.”

One such educator is business teacher Mr. Brendan Surane. He said, “I think (the coffeehouse) will be a great opportunity for the school and students to run an actual business here on campus.” Although there has not been a specific decision made on how students will be involved in the coffeehouse, Surane and Landeros are certain that students will work at it in some form or another. 

“We’re thinking (that) a lot of it will be tied to the business curriculum, and the entrepreneurship class will especially have a lot of opportunities to get hands-on work,” Surane said. He hopes this real life business will show his students how difficult but fun it could be to own their own company. The coffeehouse will allow students to see what it’s like to work with other people and handle the stress and pressure that they might face at a real job.

One role which business students have already played in the cofeehouse’s formation is developing a mock menu. The menu includes around 40 items. Some drinks include cold brew coffee, cappuccinos, slushies, strawberry banana smoothies and grab and go drinks like orange juice. The coffeehouse also will sell pastries and snacks like donuts, cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit. Surane noted that the menu is only an initial idea of what might be available for students to buy.

Landeros said that the school is looking at partnering with food service company, Flik, which is in charge of the dining hall. However, with any two close-in-proximity businesses comes competition. Landeros hopes to limit any competition that may arise and continue to be a supportive partner of Flik.

The shop serves not only as a vendor of energizing drinks and good food, but also as a way to commemorate a Cathedral alum.

Johnny Mac’s coffeehouse is named after senior Brendan McCormick’s father, who passed away. Surane said, “He was responsible for starting other school coffee shops, and the family wants to honor his legacy.”

From providing customers with fresh coffee and snacks to giving students hands-on opportunities to learn about business, the coffeehouse will have an impact on the Hill. Schommer said, “I think the success of it will depend on how much the students are involved and their engagement with it.” 

Surane said he hopes that students are “excited for this opportunity, and they should be grateful that Cathedral has (planned) this.”