Students will be greeted by a newly-renovated space on campus as the doors to Der Stiftskeller reopen today after four months of construction.
Mark Bennett, project coordinator for the Memorial Union Reinvestment, said Der Stiftskellar will open again for public use Monday after a four-month restoration period.
The Der Stiftskeller renovations were part of MUR’s Phase I plan, for which the budget was $52 million. Gift funds came in to cover two additional pieces: an expanded orchestra pit and a new orchestra shell for the Wisconsin Union Theater and the Sunset Lounge, bringing the total to $55.2 million, he said.
Der Stiftskellar originally opened in the old billiard room of Memorial Union in 1962, according to a UW statement.
Der Stiftskellar has been reconfigured slightly, Marc Kennedy, Wisconsin Union spokesperson, said. The renovations added more cash registers and an extended bar for faster service, he said.
Additionally, Der Stiftskellar will now feature two windows to serve the Terrace as opposed to the single window previously used, Kennedy said. The previously opaque windows are now more transparent to allow sunlight into the space, he said.
Murals painted on the walls by Kurt Schaldach in 1978 were destroyed and reconstructed to make room for an elevator that makes the west end of the building handicap accessible, Isthmus reported.
The west section of the building was previously inaccessible for handicapped individuals due to a large number of “level changes,” Kennedy said. This stage of renovations improves the accessibility of this side of the building for handicapped individuals, he said.
Several murals in the bar were originally mounted to allow for them to be moved in the future, Kennedy said. The other murals had to be redone by a contracting company, he said.
“This contractor specifically is trained to do this type of work, and they have done an excellent job,” Kennedy said. “They have taken great care to recreate every brush stroke done by Kurt Schaldach in 1978.”
Bennett also said while the space has been upgraded, it will still be a familiar place for students when they return. This is an important and historical space for students, staff and the community and it is important that it feel the same for its patrons, he said.
The bar will now serve several more types of beer as well as a handful of new microbrews, he said.
The 75 beer steins that have been displayed in Der Stiftskellar since 1964 were removed during the construction phase to ensure their safe keeping, the statement said. The steins’ positions were recorded to ensure they will be returned to their exact positions for the opening of the bar.
The next step of renovations will include Der Rathskellar, Kennedy said. The target start date of this phase is summer 2014 but concrete dates will not be available until after the project is reviewed by the State of Wisconsin Building Commission in March, he said.
If the project begins on time, the estimated completion date is in summer of 2016, Kennedy said.