Dining hall renovations still incomplete

Kara McIntyre

Students eat their lunch in the renovated Mesquite Dining Hall Aug. 23. Photo by Izziel Latour.
Students eat their lunch in the renovated Mesquite Dining Hall Aug. 23. Photo by Izziel Latour.

Mesquite Dining Hall’s empty spaces and idle kitchen areas have some students confused, such as mechanical engineering freshman Braeden Alvez. He gestured to the middle of the cafeteria, which holds a new, full kitchen setup, and wondered why there was no one manning that station. 

“Because of my major, I’m always thinking about efficiency. The new caf has appeared to be very inefficient,” Alvez said. “There’s so much empty space, unmanned sections and not enough seats.”

When the Board of Regents presented construction ideas in February of 2015, the minutes state that Chartwells would provide $5.1 million in the budget to renovate the existing dining hall, food court, and add different concepts around campus (i.e. Einstein’s, Starbucks). Renovations for Mesquite Dining Hall were scheduled to be finished before move-in day, but due to weather and manufacturer delays, Dean of Students Matthew Park projects construction to be complete by Sept. 5.

“The caf is not yet completed, which is why it doesn’t appear that there’s more seating,” Park said. “The new concepts, which are the Fresh Market and My Pantry sections, will be up and running and the empty spaces will have more seats.”

While some students like Alvez have issues with the new renovations, others have positive comments.

“There appears to be less seating, but I haven’t actually had an issue finding somewhere to sit,” Kerrigan Reyes, molecular and cellular biology freshman, said. “As long as I have food and a place to eat, I’m happy.”

One thing that both Reyes and Alvez could agree on was that most of the food quality was significantly better than last semester.

“The chicken and pizza were both fantastic,” Reyes said. “I definitely like the food better than last semester. I let Braeden try the chicken and he agreed, too.”

Alvez may have liked the food better, but he was still not thrilled with the new services. 

“So far I’m not that impressed, but this was only my first day eating here,” Alvez said. “We’ll see if my opinion changes at all over time.”