Changes in union food, hours likely

Claudia Mcintosh

Claudia Mcintosh

There may be more changes to the University Student Union than just a new building when it opens July 1.

One possible change is extended hours of operation. Previously, the union was open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, but the option of keeping it open for an extra hour until midnight is being discussed.

“When we started to plan the new student union, the focus group suggested extending the hours that it would be open,” said Kathy Lusk, director of the University Student Union. “The extra time could be used for student events, study groups, meetings or just hanging out. We took the idea to the students, and they seemed receptive to it, so we are moving forward with the plan.”

Lusk said that the cost of keeping the building open for another hour would be minimal.

Extended hours would give students another place to study while meeting the demands of their unusual schedules.

“… I think extending the hours would be a good thing because a lot of students are night owls. For me personally, it would be a great thing. It’s a place to go other than your dorm room,” said Joy Gibbons, a freshman biology major from Worthing.

It would also help students when working on group projects.

“I think having the Student Union open for another hour will give students more of a chance to study in large groups,” said Brad Blaha, sophomore agricultural education major.

Dining services will also change again next year. Several dining options inside the union will replace DePuy dining hall next year. These will be run like before, with students paying for exactly what they want, rather than an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“We are looking at having five eating concepts, though what we will have hasn’t been finalized yet,” said Dave Menzel, director of Dining Services.

The five eating concepts being considered are: The Grille, hamburgers and chicken strips; Home Zone/Fast Tracks, wraps and homestyle food; Stir Crazy, a Mongolian barbecue/stir-fry; Basil’s, a create-your-own pasta bar; and Tortilla Fresca, a Mexican eatery.

Students are eager to have the dining options available in the union again.

“I … think it’s fine that we are going to lose DePuy because this campus is lacking places for an a la carte supper,” Blaha said. “Being on the west side of campus, Medary is basically my only option; the union will be another place I could go for supper.”

Lusk said other changes within the dining area deal with the layout of the area and seating.

“We have added 150 … seats to the student union and opened up the serving area so it has more of a mall feel and people don’t have to stand in long lines,” said Lusk.

Rooms in the union will also change. For instance, the ballroom of the union has been moved from the second floor to the first floor and expanded from 4,800 square feet to 9,000 square feet. The bookstore has also been expanded to hold more items and allow people more room while shopping. Five new meeting areas will be open in the Student Union for various collegiate clubs to use as well.