Did Nyack High School's Closed Campus Affect Local Business?

Less high school students are frequenting nearby eateries due to the closed campus policy

's closed campus policy . Supporters say the policy has cut back on skipping class and off-campus smoking; opponents cite an encroachment on students' liberty.

Since its introduction, the policy has been fiercely debated. But how has it impacted individuals outside of the school system—like nearby eateries?

One affected dining spot is Dish Deli, located next to the high school. Alexandra Lopukhin, Dish Deli's owner, says that her lunch business has been cut by at least 50 percent, as the vast majority of lunchtime customers were freshmen and sophomores.

Lopukhin has two children in the Nyack school system, and .

Eva, Kristen, and Kristina—three Nyack High School juniors who eat at Dish Deli—have noticed the decline in business, as well.

"We used to have a lot of friends who came here, friends who were underclassmen," they said.

But Skip, Evan and Dana—also juniors—say that students who came to Dish Deli did not primarily eat there; instead they smoked cigarettes outside. The students added the pilot program has cut down on smoking during school hours.

Lopukhin prides Dish Deli on its student business.

"I like the fact that the deli is a place for kids to hang out," she said. Lopukhin added the deli is a student-friendly environment; it does not sell beer, cigarettes or lottery tickets.

But if the closed campus—and less student business—continues, Lopukhin would be compelled to explore selling those products.

"We would need to refocus [its] growth [and] energy on another segment of the population," she explained.

If Nyack High School goes forward with continuing the closed campus, . And the return of sophomore customers would bring Dish Deli's business back up 10 to 25 percent, according to Lopukhin.

The deli still gets a good amount of juniors for lunch, but it gets few seniors, who can drive to eating places that are farther away. 

Dish Deli is not the only eating place affected by the pilot program. Casa del Mare, an Italian restaurant, also had lunch business from students—especially athletes. A representative for Casa del Mare says that lunchtime has been "very quiet" during the course of the pilot program and that a closed campus "definitely affects us."

, a close-by Chinese restaurant, has adapted to the closed campus in order to keep business going. They have introduced a special where they bring food to freshmen and sophomores during school hours. But manager Katie Ding believes that it is better for students to eat out so they can have a break from school.

"They're old enough to control themselves," Ding said.

Gail Fleur, the district's director of communications, noted the policy's effect on local business is accidental. She said the closed campus is a safety issue from the school board's point-of-view. Other school administrators could not be reached for comment.  

The policy will be discussed further—and possibly continued and/or amended—at tomorrow's school board meeting (7:30 p.m.).

John Gromada November 08, 2010 at 10:50 AM
Jerry November 08, 2010 at 02:35 PM
This really should not factor in the school board's decision of whether or not a closed or open campus is advisable. And as far as the contentiousness of this issue, I advise that people go back and listen to the last two BOE podcasts. For the most part the Superintendent, BOE members and public speakers were all magnificantly behaved and respectful of all angles of the issue. I was most impressed with the acting Superintendent, his thoughts and views on any student driving off campus certainly need to be heard and considered. The overall message to move on from this issue and focus on the more core issues effecting the district like block scheduling and the search for a new Superintendent should also be heeded.
Pat November 08, 2010 at 10:07 PM
The acting principal has said that cutting classes has been reduced and respect has risen. Why is this a debate? The school is not meant to be a source of economic growth in the town; it is meant to educate students, which they can't do if the kids aren't present. Transitions are also a problem for students, so if they are hurrying back to campus, they aren't in the right frame of mind to learn. I can't imagine why this continues to be a source of discussion.


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