Many students hurried off to say their goodbyes and get their “Last Call” drink specials at The Rat on Tuesday, Aug. 30. West Chester students easily assumed that the large banners hung outside the West Chester bar on High St. and the rumors scurrying around campus, meant that night would be their last night to party at one of their favorite bars. But the signs were quickly taken down and changed to “Last Call specials for Friday and Saturday night.”According to an article from The Daily Local News, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education approved the University’s purchase, a closing deal of $2.8 million, of the two properties across from Main Hall in July, 2005. “The University and the owners of The Rat, Robert and Vicky Bayle, are still in negotiation and the purchase price will come out at the time of settlement,” said Director of Public Relations for West Chester University Loretta MacAlpine.
Some students like senior Joe Roscioli feel that “it’s like a part of West Chester is leaving. There’s a lot of history there.” Referring to the “18-to-party” nights he said, “It’s going to leave a gap for the underage students.” Students and residents of age will easily move their bar nights up town, if they haven’t already. For the underclassman of West Chester, the closing of The Rat leaves them with no place to party close to campus on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Despite rumors throughout West Chester’s campus, there is no connection between the dry campus policy and the purchase of the Rat. “There are other businesses located there [referring to Papa Johns, Burrito Loco, and Dynamic Bookstore], but The Rat is the only business that is doing something different. The other businesses’ leases are intact and the Universitywill become the landlord for these remaining leases. Some of these leases will last from 6 to 8 years,” said MacAlpine.
When asking if she’s encountered any complaints or concernsfrom students or residents aboutthe closing of the Rat, MacAlpinesaid, “…I haven’t heard anything other than the staff agreeing with the logical location of these buildings.”
There are no plans for what the buildings of 701 and 703 S. High St. will be used for, but “the University has planned to extend its facilities over the next 5, 10 and 15 years,” said MacAlpine.