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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Downtown Bryan space offers students a unique study spot

Tiffany+Cousins%2C+urban+planning+graduate+student%2C%26%23160%3Band+Hannah+Shaw%2C+recreation+parks+and+tourism+science+senior%2C+study+in+the+downtown+Bryan+Reading+Room.%26%23160%3B
Shelby Knowles

Tiffany Cousins, urban planning graduate student, and Hannah Shaw, recreation parks and tourism science senior, study in the downtown Bryan Reading Room. 

Buried in Downtown Bryan, art exhibited in the SEAD Gallery is merged with a corner space filled with antique furniture, coffee and a cozy study-friendly environment.
The Downtown Reading Room has called the Federal Building home for five months now. The Reading Room is a project created by Advent GX, a community development business, to provide another quiet place to community members and students alike. 
With plenty of natural sunlight, comfortable antique furniture and art decorating the white walls, the Reading Room is in a perfect location for those who wish to have a space to work but not be too isolated, said Advent GX Managing Partner Joan Quintana.
“For a few bucks, they can get all the coffee they need, they can study in a comfortable and hopefully inspiring space and be walking distance from great food or even just a walk if you need a study break and then come right back in and keep going,” Quintana said.
Jayne Hattaway, member of Advent GX’s marketing and communications team and Class of 2013, said the room opened on Dec. 1, 2014 and offers access to the room as well as coffee for $7 a day, or $50 for a punch card that covers access to the room for 12 uses.
“There are so many people working downtown, at The Village, or at Harvest, a lot of students and professionals and freelancers, and so we wanted to create a space that would invite people to visit those places. You know, go get coffee, go get lunch, that sort of thing, and then turn tables and really kind of benefit everybody,” Hattaway said.
With all the businesses downtown combined with a high demand for study spots, Quintana said the Reading Room is another venue that allows people to work without clogging the dining areas of local restaurants.
“Sometimes when you have a restaurant that’s trying to be a study spot, it’s hard for that restaurant to turn over tables and make money if people stick around and just have a cup of coffee and stick around all day,” Quintana said. “So we’re kind of overload. The whole idea of the Reading Room is that people come and go throughout the day or evening and they go to downtown restaurants and they eat and then they come back and they study some more.”
Quintana said in the five months the Reading Room has been operating, there has been a need for attendants to facilitate visitors. 
“I would say our biggest challenge is trying to staff the space,” Quintana said. “What we’ve done is we offer the opportunity for students to take on an attendant role if they can commit to staffing the Reading Room for so many hours each week and essentially in exchange for staffing they get free access anytime they want.”
Large wooden study tables take up a large part of the Reading Room with the rest of it occupied by antique armchairs that belonged to Quintana’s family estate. Quintana said the additions create warmth and comfort, along with a bit of elegance. 
“For example, in the space right now we don’t have a lot of the bigger furniture like armoires and old antique sewing machines because we cleared out the space for some of the study tables,” Quintana said. “We definitely have the chairs and sofa and some of the antique end tables. And I actually built with our team a couple of the library tables and put those in there with some library chairs and a piece of art from my mom is on the wall.”
The SEAD Gallery lies at the entrance to the Reading Room where the art created from the current artist in residence is displayed. Mick Burson, University of North Texas student, is the current SEAD Gallery artist. The art created by SEAD gallery artists pours over into the Reading Room.
Burson’s art features everyday objects such as yarn, buttons and wood that adds to the comfort of the space, he said.
“Well, they’re assemblages of mostly found objects and they reference quilts and abstract narratives about pretty regular instances in my life,” Burson said. “So it’s just about normal things and very relatable things and I try to use pretty relatable objects and not do anything with tricks with the paint to create some sort of false reality.”
Quintana said students will be the primary visitors by the end of the semester.
“We really anticipate that it’s going to have its peak during finals,” Quintana said. “There’s just a real high demand for a place to go and get away and study and have coffee.”

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  • Tiffany Cousins, urban planning graduate student, studies in the downtown Bryan Reading Room in preparation for finals.

    Shelby Knowles
  • Downtown Bryan Reading Room

    Shelby Knowles
  • Hannah Shaw, recreation parks and tourism science senior, studies in the downtown Bryan Reading Room. 

    Shelby Knowles
  • Downtown Bryan Reading Room

    Shelby Knowles
  • Downtown Bryan Reading Room

    Shelby Knowles
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