Campus Center prepares for revamp

By Katherine Hur

Students relax on couches during their free period, some cramming for that math test next period, others kicking back and watching ESPN. A group of spectators flock around the Ping-Pong table and a line of hungry students eye the bags of potato chips and stacks of candy bars.
The Campus Center is usually a hive of chatter and a place to escape the everyday stress of school. Recently, however, the packaged food on display has been dwindling down in preparation for a complete makeover. Renovations have been planned for months to prepare for a brand-new Campus Center geared toward a wider selection of significantly healthier snacks.
“In part with Flik Dining, we want to provide people with new choices that are more nutritious and filling, not just the typical convenience store food we have now,” said assistant director of facilities Sharon Jaye. “Instead of just laying out packaged snacks, we’re aiming toward fresh baked goods and deli [style food]. But to provide healthier options, we need an area that can support the necessary preparations.”
Currently, the infrastructure of the Campus Center is inadequate to support the planned changes. Additions to the facilities include new sinks in order to wash pots and pans, prep tables, an oven, and a new refrigerated display case filled with grab ’n’ go snacks.
“The space of the old Campus Center was worn out,” said director of dining services Terrence Dromm. “From a functional standpoint, it did not have the capability of providing more than what is there now, which is essentially junk food.”
Apart from new cooking appliances, plans for new furniture are also in the works – more chairs and booths to replace the couches for larger seating accommodations.
So what exactly should students expect? The new renovations will allow for a wide range of options, from sandwiches and salads to frozen yogurt and smoothies. A coffee machine with different coffee varieties will be available for student use, as well as other bottled drinks.
“It’s not going to be all hummus and carrot sticks. We want to provide better choices that are both popular and healthy,” said Dromm. “We’re going to experiment with yogurt parfaits, fruit cups, and sub sandwiches. In order to provide all this, we needed to redesign.”
The change is intended to aid students who stay on campus long after the school day ends, due to various extracurricular activities. It will also supply breakfast fare for those running late in the mornings.
“On some days, I have to skip breakfast or lunch,” said junior Mallika Madhusudan. “I know a lot of other students who do as well, so I think adding a deli where we can just pick up food on the go would be awesome.”
Other students remain skeptical about the newer choices, however.
“I go to the Campus Center so that I don’t have to eat healthy food,” said freshman Benton Wood. “I’m not too happy about the changes.” Those craving a cup of Coke midway through the day shouldn’t worry too much, though. The range of junk food will certainly be limited, but soft drinks and potato chips are still going to be available.
“People have plenty of access to junk food, but it’s harder to access more wholesome food during the day,” said Dromm. “I think we’re going to be able to provide a lot more options for students now.”
Despite the extra appliances and furniture, the arrangement of the Campus Center will remain the same. Rest assured, the Ping-Pong tables aren’t going anywhere.
“The actual size isn’t going to change,” said Jaye. “There was a lot of space in the back that just had wasted cabinets. A lot of the cabinets are going to be replaced by prep tables. It’ll look completely different.”
Construction for the new Campus Center began on Jan. 28 and will last for about a month. Though the new furniture won’t be added for a while, students can expect the changes to be implemented after spring break.
“It’s going to seem almost like a café,” said Jaye. “It’ll really just feel more like a campus center.”