April 2016, News & Features

Campus food options expand

Both of the new food options on campus are finally open. The renovated Grill reopened at noon on Monday, April 4, after more than five months of renovation.

“I love the remodeling,” said Chris Acevedo, a senior theater major. “I love the way they made it look. We’ve been waiting for this moment for months!”

“I’m glad it’s open,” said Alston DeVega, a freshman criminal justice major. “I was here almost all the time before it closed, so I was really disappointed.”

That follows the opening of a new food kiosk in the library on March 7. The kiosk serves convenience foods such as sandwiches, muffins and coffee.

Renovations on the Grill began the end of October and were supposed to be finished four months ago. “We ran into some problems during construction – things that had to be fixed for us to bring it up to code,” explained Jane Bass of ABL Management, who is in charge of the university’s food service.

Workers did not know the condition of the electrical system, the water distribution system and other equipment until work began, Bass said. “When you get a book, you really don’t know what’s in there until you open it up and start flipping through the pages,” she said.

Because of changes in construction code since the building was built, the systems had to be upgraded, she said.

But the renovation achieved exactly what was planned, Abel said. The renovation was designed to create a more efficient workspace, allowing quicker service. The service improvements were immediately noticeable, Abel said. New equipment such as a better refrigerator and larger fryer allows the return of items that had been discontinued, such as chicken fingers, Philly Steak subs and chicken wings.

And the place looks nicer – the salad bar is new and it has new granite countertops.

Despite the long wait for the project to end and the long lines Monday, the reopening went smoothly. “Their patience made all the difference in the world,” Abel said. “Their attitude was more than I expected. We have a fantastic student body.”

The kiosk has gotten mixed reviews. Many students, staff and faculty like the coffee house atmosphere created when tables and chairs were set up in what used to be a meeting room.

The kiosk has done good business in its first few weeks, workers say.

But others have been disappointed in the selection of food it offers and the prices.

“Why should we pay for snacks and drinks that we can get the same thing for free during cafe hours?” said student Carisma Graham.

“Why do they feel like everyone likes to eat healthy?” added student Breanna Graham. “What about us junk food eaters? We’re going to have to still leave campus to get the type of food we like.”

— Kendall Morrison