Bartender and health and fitness student Julia Spanninga cleans the bar. Photo credit: Alex Campbell

The Observatory, located just before the bridge in A building, closed regular operations last Friday until further notice due to staffing shortages.

It comes less than a month after most classes resumed for the fall semester and the Observatory opened for the season.

“We’re just struggling to find qualified full-time staff,” said Brian Kitchen, the senior manager of hospitality services. “Unfortunately we just weren’t able to fill the vacancies, and with an increase of catering and events it just became the reality of our situation. We weren’t able to operate both the Wolves Den and the Observatory at the same time.”

Jobs that are the hardest to fill are full-time positions, including evening front-of-house staff, supervisors and cooks, according to Kitchen.

Many of the current employees working at the Observatory will be moved to the Wolves Den. Sawyer Jones, a bartender at the Observatory, is one of those employees.

“It sucks. It’s kind of a good vibe here, it’s a lot of foot traffic we’re going to miss out on, but I feel like they’re making the right decision for what they need to do. Hopefully, they figure out their situation and get it open soon again.” said Jones.

Regulars at the Observatory are also upset, but understanding of the temporary closure.

“It’s unfortunate that they have to close because I love going after class and hanging out with my friends, but I understand that worker shortages are a big problem right now, so I’m not that upset. It’ll open up soon and I’ll be back,” said Dianna Cinnamon, a horticulture student who regularly stops in after class.

As to when the Observatory could reopen, it could take some time.

“Unfortunately it will be a number of weeks, but it depends on how long it takes us to fill the vacancies,” Kitchen said. The hiring process can take a while, but Kitchen remains optimistic that the Observatory will open again soon.