By Darius Pleasant
After years of planning, renovations on the Cub Cafe will begin next month, shortly after graduation. Dining Services expect completion by January 2016. These renovations plan to create new seating options to the cafe as well as introduce new and improved food options.
“This portion of the renovations will cost anywhere between $7 million to $9 million dollars and all of the renovations,
Bear’s Den included, will cost $30 million dollars in total,” said Kent Dahlquist, director of Housing, Residence Life, and Dining Services.
According to Dahlquist, the current outdoor seating areas of the Cub Cafe will be eliminated and the building itself will be pushed out farther. This will allow a glass window patio-like area to be created in that space. The cafe will also be split into three other sections.
These new sections of the cafe, similar to the glass patio, will have different seating options. In one zone, there will be countertops accompanied by barstools. In another zone, there will be padded chairs and couches available to lounge in. The third zone will have booths.
While the renovations are in progress, Dahlquist said, “The Academic Forum and South Dining Hall will not be able to accommodate all student dining needs.” In order to combat this issue, the Multipurpose room and the Formal Dining Room will be used for extra dining space.
“Every weekday between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Formal Dining Room area will serve as a buffet style food section and the Multipurpose Room in the SUB will be used for seating. This will also cause the Georgian Room of Old Main to be open for hosting of major events that would normally occur in either of these two rooms,” said Dahlquist.
Even some students seem to be looking forward to these renovations being completed.
“This is something that will allow the university to move forward, which will be great. If they were to stay stagnant and let the dining areas become outdated, that might deter students from enrolling,” said sophomore Jacob Sims.
The university is also nearing the time in which they will be renewing their contract with popular food distributor Aramark. Currently the school is enrolled in the second-tier of food options that Aramark has to offer. With these changes to the dining hall, KU will be upgrading to the first and highest tier Aramark has to offer.
Dining Services hopes to please students with these new changes. In fact, when asked about this new tier of food, Dahlquist said, “I would be really shocked if anyone complained about this.”
Sophomore Philip Smith, when asked about whether he feels this is a good idea for the University said, “Yes, I think it will be good. If I was in high school again choosing what college to go to, a deciding factor would be whether they had good food or not.”
These renovations and many others to come are all a part of a master plan. The master plan consists of four phases. After these renovations are finished the university will tackle the third phase, which will involve the first floor of South Dining Hall. The final phase will involve the second floor of South Dining Hall.