ISU Dining continues renovations

Elizabeth Kix

With the fall semester creeping closer, ISU Dining staff members are looking for ways to allow students the quick and easy food they need to keep their schedule for the day ongoing. Limited dining space, especially at popular food courts such as the Union Drive Community Center, is causing students to stand in long lines and wait for open tables.

Nancy Levandowski, director of ISU Dining, is working on ways to solve this conflict.

This fall, ISU Dining may start using a small cart outside the UDCC and Beardshear Hall to alleviate some of the pressure and buildup at noon at the UDCC. These carts would serve burgers and veggie burgers as well as chips, drinks and fruit. It would also allow meal plans to be used, Levandowski said.

Ryan Osterberger, food services manager at UDCC, hopes these carts will help with traffic flow.

“The facility was designed for 2,100 people. This year, we served 2,600 a meal. Next year, we may serve 2,800 a meal. We usually serve 6,000 people a day. It is hard to accommodate,” Osterberger said.

Levandowski’s plans for renovations will be continuous throughout the next four years. This summer, the Memorial Union underwent construction and a new place to eat, Cy’s and Fries, was added to the food court. The Wallace-Wilson dorms have implemented a C-Store called the Southside C-Store, which is similar to those at the Maple-Willow-Larch facilities and the UDCC.

This convenience store will open Aug. 19, and be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday. This schedule will continue throughout the school year.

Starting Aug. 6, the MU food court will be opened for dining. The convenience store Onions and the MU Caf‚ are combining, and renovations there will continue through February 2008.

The Hub will also start renovations Aug. 6. This work will hopefully be done by spring semester 2008, Levandowski said.

Looking even further into the future, ISU Dining will be incorporating a new design and layout for the Maple-Willow-Larch commons and C-Store, beginning in June 2008 right after the spring semester has ended. ISU Dining is trying to integrate a new, unique project for the commons to attract students. The focus at MWL will be a hickory barbecue stop with smoked meats and sandwiches. This renovation will not be completed by the start of the new school year, so during construction the Linden commons will be opened for eastside residents to enjoy.

Levandowski’s hope is for the convenience store in MWL to be completed before Thanksgiving 2008 and definitely before semester finals. Commons construction may continue.

Once MWL’s makeover is finished, the renovations will move to the Oak-Elm dining facilities. Once again, Levandowski is hoping to integrate something fresh and unique to the dining center. Oak-Elm will probably be host to a bakery and ice cream shop. These renovations will not start until spring 2009.

Starting in 2010, renovations for the Design Caf‚ will begin. The hope is to expand the space. Also, a new cafe may be put in an engineering building.

Levandowski, who has planned all of these renovations and makeovers, is always on the move.

“I stay busy,” she said with a laugh.