It emerged on Thursday that the on-campus venue ‘The Den’, run by The University of Nottingham Students’ Union will have a significant decrease in the services it provides to students. Cut-backs include a complete closing of the space during the day and a stop on all but pre-arranged events. The future of the space will now be decided by the ‘SU Big Review’ which is likely to compress operation further and present the possibility of closure.
The total loss for ‘The Den’ this year has been projected at £160,000. Combine this with an initial refurbishment cost of nearly £200,000, the second, more recent refurbishment cost of £73,000 and the subsequent yearly losses- then total sunk-costs easily reach £500,000.
The Union haven’t given up without a fight though, every conceivable method to kick-start the ‘white elephant’ within the bowels of the Portland Building has been tried and tested. From a season-ticket to a pizza parlor to the reupholstering of the seats, no stone was left unturned in the quest for a popular, and of course profitable, student night-spot.
Stewart Bailey, Finance and Commercial Services Officer released the following statement to Impact:
“Unfortunately the increased costs have not been matched by spending at the bar and this has led to significant losses. Whilst individual events may have been ‘successful’, it has not proven possible to buck the industry-wide decline in licensed trade and we have had to take the low level of spending as an indication that this type of club is not what students are demanding…The current level of loss is not sustainable and is preventing us from investing in other activities within the Students’ Union.”
With such a considerable amount of Union cash having been pumped into the failed venue, students will be asking why the Executive persisted with investment into the space despite previous heavy losses. In September of last year Impact printed an article questioning the repeated investment, only to have it pulled by the very Executive who may now ultimately close the facility.
Either way, University of Nottingham students have made their mind up about ‘The Den’, it’s now up to our newly elected 2010-2011 SU Executive to pick up the pieces.