Across the lawn from the University Center, the new dining hall is nearing completion after it was orginally set to open the spring semester of 2009. Scheduled to be up and running now for the fall of 2009, this efficiently designed two-story building will feature 13 restaurants, including Starbucks, McAlister’s Deli, Panda Express, a burger venue, a brick oven pizza place, and many more, Chancellor John Bardo confirmed in a recent interview.
“The downstairs portion of the building is going to be set up like a food court seen in a mall, except much nicer. It is going to take on an Italian theme with a pieta style. The seating is very comfortable. It is definitely going to have flavor.”
One of the greatest aspects of the new dining hall is its well thought-out architectural design. The lower level will include multiple entrances. McAlister’s Deli will have its very own entrance, so that when other restaurants close it can conveniently stay open, giving students more on-campus dining options at night.
The upstairs portion of the new dining hall is going to be an all-you-care-to-eat venue, which will only have one entrance. This setup will give students the option of paying a daily fee and having access all day to freely come and go as they choose. Bardo said it was designed this way for the convenience of the students.
“Some students are early risers while others are not. One student may eat breakfast at 10:00 am and then be asked to join a friend later. I have had rising complaints from students concerning not being able to sit with their friends without first paying to eat again.”
Once the new dining hall is open, Dodson will come down. At this time, there are no proposals to have anything built on the empty space. Bardo says the space will be covered with grass, much like the grassy space between Dodson and the UC now. However, the university does want to eventually use the available space to build a quad incorporating a fountain. Bardo believes the new area will be very attractive to students.