As students returned from winter break, some shuffled across campus to classes, others hit up the bookstore to purchase this semester’s reads, and several headed to the dining commons to eat in the brand new facility for the very first time.
The January opening of the dining commons marked completion of the first phase of a two-part construction project on a new building housing the dining commons, fitness facility, and arena/convocation center. This new center accommodates the university’s extraordinary growth over the past 15 years, as well as future enrollment growth.
The new dining commons seat more than 500 people, nearly doubling the number of students the previous dining hall accommodated. The space includes new digital menu boards, a wood-burning pizza oven, a salad-bar island, a double-sided brick fire place, outdoor seating. Additionally, the space is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“These new facilities create a space for students to gather, explore, and grow. Beginning with convocation, learning throughout their time here, and leading to celebrating graduation. This will be a place to share, to learn, to meet with faculty and staff, and to celebrate leadership accomplishments in the classroom, the community, and the courts. It is our jumping off point as students develop into transformational leaders, so very needed in our world,” Ruth Rodgers, vice president of student success and engagement and dean of students, said.
On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, a blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in celebration of the opening. Students, faculty, and staff were invited to the celebration and given a voucher to enjoy a free meal on the house.
Phase two of the new center is expected to be complete in October 2018.