Thu, Apr 24 2008
Not only is the food changing at LeTourneau University, but the dining hall is changing, too. LETU students will have new food service provider Bon Appetit serving meals this fall, and the school has announced today it is moving its dining hall. The current 400-seat B. A. Skipper Dining Hall will be vacated after renovations are completed on the 600-seat Assembly Building in the southwest corner of the campus.
“The students have advised us throughout this school year as we have sought to improve our food service,” said Doug Wilcoxson, dean of Student Affairs. “Even though the Assembly Building is not in the center of campus like the current dining hall, the students are generally excited about making this move. Both our student government and student foundation groups have been integrally involved in helping us improve the atmosphere of the dining commons.”
The Assembly Building renovation will begin in the summer to add a kitchen to the east side of the building, as well as a “scatter system” serving area that will reduce long lines. The renovations will also include outdoor dining, multi-level seating, colorful interior decorating and inviting lighting. The interior will be completely rebuilt to allow for groups to reserve rooms for meetings, even during hours when food service is not in operation. Preliminary plans also call for a flexible space to allow concerts or other entertainment to occur during or after meal service. The Assembly Building was used in years past for the university’s thrice-weekly chapel services before the Belcher Center opened last fall.
“As we plan the new, interim dining hall, the possibilities are exciting,” said Bill McDowell, vice president for Business Affairs. “We have Bon Appetit providing fresh food from a new kitchen, and students, faculty and staff enjoying a larger, multi-level dining area or even dining outdoors when the weather is nice. You can’t get much better than that.”
Plans are for the renovations to be completed by January 2009. Following the move, the current dining hall will be closed. The university’s coffee bar and grill, called “The Hive,” located on the first floor of the R. G. LeTourneau Memorial Student Center, will continue to stay open.
Renovations to the Assembly Building will not change long-range plans for a permanent campus center with a new dining facility, LETU President Dale A. Lunsford said.
“This interim dining hall will allow us time to prepare for a more significant building project while providing our students with excellent facilities for campus dining,” Lunsford said. “A new food service provider working from a new kitchen and serving the campus in a new dining space will result in a much enhanced campus food program. Very quickly students and staff will see a real difference.”