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After two delays, Bowland College bar is finally closing to be given its first redecoration since it opened in 1967 by way of a major structural refurbishment. It will reopen in September.
Bowland JCR President Anastasia Rattigan said “I am really happy the refurbishment is going ahead now, it was definitely Bowland’s turn for revamp. I have seen the layout design, which includes types of flooring and where the toilets are going to go etc.” The bar itself is to be extended into the space that the current toilets occupy, alleviating the issue faced on events such as Friday Fury where the small bar is crammed with people unable to queue anywhere.
The latest issue of the college magazine The Bowland Lady features the proposed designs as its cover art. Rattigan said that “It will be keeping the current character as a cosy pub with comfy sofas, it’ll just be a bit more spacious”, reflecting the desire of many students and of the licensee Ian Thompson to avoid a drastic redesign which would remove the current atmosphere.
With the closure of the bar at the end of this term, Bowland College events are without a venue for third term. Rattigan reassured that while “We are currently looking for an alternative location for Bowland Extrav, […] wherever the event is going to take place it’ll be very very good.”
Rattigan outlined the farewell week’s events: “starting with a quiz on the Wednesday with big cash prizes for first, second and third teams. On the Friday there will be cheap drinks, a DJ for people to have one last party in the old bar. Then on the Saturday Bowland will be hosting its very own drink the bar dry which will start early afternoon and go on till late.”
The bar was previously set to close during May 2009 for work to commence over the summer holiday, with the JCR Executive planning a series of events and producing memorabilia such as engraved tankards to sell. The money spent on the end of the bar celebrations was wasted as it was then revealed that the refurbishment would not be going ahead, and the memorabilia lost its appeal. There are still tankards available behind the bar from that celebration.
New furniture and a new coat of paint were applied in the Easter holidays of the academic year 2009-2010 as a stop gap after the second delay meant that the bar’s closure in March 2010 was no longer going ahead either.
The proposals for the refurbishment of much of the college including Bowland Main and the quad were, however, at least approved in March 2010, giving the go-ahead to what will now be a major construction project including residences and the bar. At the time of this approval Bowland College Principal Joe Thornberry said “We want to retain a traditional bar; students treat the college as their home and we want to retain this cosiness. At the moment the bar is small and run down, and it isn’t what students want,” he said. “There has been frustration from the students that it has taken so long, but also an acknowledgement that we need to get it right. Bowland students deserve to have some money spent on their college.”