The Courtyard Dining Hall, which has been scheduled to open on six different dates, is now set to open gradually, with the bottom level opening July 6 and the second level on August 7.
The construction of this building is intricately connected to the construction of nearby Balsam Hall. However, some students remain discontented with the pace of construction on campus.
Student Eric Smith, WCU student, feels says that the construction delays are “irresponsible.” Smith argues that there wouldn’t be delays if the school made the contractor stick to its deadline.
“When you promise the students one thing, and then you take it back and push back the date, you begin to lose the students’ trust,” said Smith.
Wiley D. Harris, is the Director of Facilities Planning Design and Construction, . It is his is the Western Carolina official who is to work with the school and the contractor on projects such as the new dining hall and residence hall. Although reluctant to give specifics for legal reasons, Harris says that the contractor has been held up by logistics. According to Harris, there are many considerations to take into account when erecting a building-: meeting the health department’s safety requirements, for instance.
Another issue is that some of the construction is interconnected. When asked if the Balsam Hall is being completed on schedule, Harris quips, “they say it is.” But the reality, according to Harris, is that the new dorm is being constructed in two phases.
The first phase is the half of the dorm being built on the site of former Helder residence hall. This is on schedule. The second phase is the half to be built on the site of former Leatherwood. Phase two is behind because it requires ground that is taken up by Dodson, which cannot be torn down until the Courtyard is open.
Harris says that in the near future, Central Drive will be re-topped and renovated for pedestrian traffic, and that a new health center will be built on the west side of campus.
In any event, dining services has posted Courtyard Dining Hall’s most detailed schedule yet. Both Starbucks and the new C-Store will open on June 29, and the first floor dining area will follow on July 6. The second floor, which includes the much talked about McAlister’s Deli, is set to open August 3.