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SANTA MONICA : Officials Close Cafe at Satellite Campus

June 11, 1995|TOM JENNINGS

The cafe at Santa Monica College's airport campus is unusually quiet these days, following the Los Angeles County Health Department's decision to close the popular gathering place because it lacks a sink and hot water.

To make matters worse, the private contractor that ran the cafe has taken flight because the college says it does not have the funds to bring the building up to code.

Although the college's business office has asked the school's governing board to pay for the installation of a sink and a hot-water system, budget pressures make it unlikely that the cafe will be back in business any time soon, said Bruce Smith, a spokesman for the college.

"The building used to be an armory and was used as a hangar," Smith said of the cafe, located on the college's 16-classroom satellite campus just south of Santa Monica Airport. "It has thick concrete walls, so installing a sink wouldn't be cheap."

The cafe, which included a small eating area and library, sold coffee, tea and light snacks such as sandwiches and bagels. Smith said the cafe had operated trouble-free for two or three years before county health officials closed it last month, leaving the 3,500 students at the airport campus to rely on vending machines.

The business that ran the restaurant offered to use a portable sink, Smith said, but that apparently failed to satisfy the Health Department.

Health Department spokesman Carl Charles said the cafe cannot reopen unless proper drains and hot-water lines are installed.

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