New dining hall planning set in motion

Casey McAnarney | Staff Writer

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Come 2016, Wagoner, Dubs Café, Landwich and Hawks Nest will cease to be the only major dining options on campus.

Aramark, the foodservice provider for UNCW, is helping provide funds for the new dining hall (The Hub) which is set to open Fall 2016.

“About three weeks ago we held a series of focus group meetings with students and staff to start talking about some of the conceptual designs of what students want in the new dining hall,” said Matt Rogers of Aramark Corporation.

According to Rogers, these focus groups consisted of representatives of both the Student Government Association and Residence Hall Association. The topics up for discussion surrounded issues like seating, menu options, and study or leisure space.

“Really, we talked about how they wanted to use the space, seeing as this new hall is for the students and faculty of UNCW,” Rogers said.

The design team is working quickly to materialize a proposal of the new dining hall based upon the topics discussed in these focus groups, “so that [the team] can come back in late summer and present the new design to the same group of students and faculty members,” according to Rogers. The team hopes to match the designs with exactly what UNCW students want.

When asked about how The Hub would impact the surrounding area, specifically the parking lot it would be intruding, Rogers stated, “the university is trying not to lose (parking) spots. Parking is tight and they are being very cognitive about it in order to maintain what they have.”

Brian Dailey, Director of Auxiliary Services, said the entire parking lot will not be affected. However the first row of Parking Lot J—between Graham-Hewlett and Galloway—is subject to change.

As mentioned in the original Seahawk Hub Dining Hall article, the dining hall will “fit nicely between Galloway and Graham.” The building will stand two stories high and encompass approximately 5000 square feet.

Enisha Hassell, a member of SGA and a student representative, stayed in cohorts with Matt Rogers and Megan Allred, Auxiliary Services Marketing Specialist, from the early days of the project.

Hasssell said that though things have been discussed, there is not much to report about the new dining hall until the design based off of what student and faculty members suggested is complete.

However, based upon Rogers’ optimism over the focus group meetings, it seems that the hardest part has surpassed.

“They gave us some great ideas that we are working hard on,” Rogers said. “We started discussions over what kinds of concepts they’d like to see. Like, would they want a coffee shop or landing? What kind of food would they want to see? And now we are using those ideas to try and create an accurate design. “

According to Rogers, construction is set to begin Fall 2015.