Food Court renovations postponed until next summer

IUS Horizon

During the summer break, renovations to the Food Court were supposed to begin. However, because of a delay, those plans have been moved to summer 2011.

Dana Wavle, vice chancellor for Administrative Affairs and Finances, said the delay was due to checking the accuracy of the design plans. Although the firm Robert Rippe & Associates completed the design in April, the project still needs to be approved by the Architect’s Office in Bloomington.

“Most of our capital projects on campus or anything that involves more than — let’s say $10,000, generally speaking — has to go through the Architect’s Office,” Wavle said. “That’s a layer of protection for us to make sure it’s properly designed and that we have all the right electrical, plumbing, infrastructure, and it makes for a safer project.”

Wavle said the new layout will include more space for expanded services and customer queuing. Some of the changes taking place include a designated exit and entrance along with five distinct stations, including a new grill.

“The space we have right now is very small and confined,” Wavle said. “We’re probably adding almost 30 percent more space to the server area, and I think that alone will be beneficial. It will really improve queuing and flow patterns.”

James Bonsall, business management senior, was involved with the design phase early on. Bonsall said he was hoping to see the renovations completed this summer.

“It looked really awesome, but I was just kind of told that they didn’t want to proceed because they weren’t quite ready,” Bonsall said. “They wanted to make sure it was 100 percent right instead of doing it and then having to fix it later.”

Wavle said the project was approved and funded in the FY10 budget in the amount of $357,000. However, because of the delay, the funds were set aside for FY11.

“We have the opportunity every year to use our reserves for special projects, and we call it the planned use of reserves,” Wavle said. “We have to actually submit that to university administration and the board of trustees.”

The funding ultimately comes from higher student enrollment and tuition.

Wavle said in an effort to minimize cost, they will be reusing some of the equipment that is currently in place.

“We’re really trying to get as much renovation work done with the least amount of money,” Wavle said. “The other thing, too, is that some of the stuff is relatively new. It’s only been in place for three years, and we feel obligated to continue to use it.”

Wavle said after the renovations are complete, they will determine a name for the new layout.

“We’ll ask students for their input, and I think we may even have a naming contest,” Wavle said. “I think giving it a name and giving it an identity will be really important so that will be the last thing we do.”

While the renovations are happening there will be temporary food service available elsewhere on campus, such as the University Grounds.

“We’ll just have to ask the campus community to be patient with us,” Wavle said. “It will be imperative that we find the right time to do this work with the least disruption to the campus community.”

Bonsall said the current set up is inefficient, but once the renovations are complete it will be quicker.

“I hope that along with the renovations the Dining Services continues to improve,” Bonsall said. “I hope that students really want to go there just because they really like it not because it’s the only option.”

Wavle said he expects the renovations to go smoothly, and students will be very happy with the new and improved facility.

“I feel like we’ve got the right plan we just need to get the work done now,” Wavle said.


Features Editor