The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Renovations continue on dining hall

When students arrive on-campus in the fall, a new Umphrey-Lee dining facility will be waiting for them. Work on the overhaul of the campus dining center has reached the half-way point and is “on schedule and ready to open August 17,” according to Julie Wiksten, the director of auxiliary services.

The 12-week renovation began when the facility shut down during final exams in May. Wiksten said diners will have a hard time recognizing the facility after work has been completed.

“The new layout changes the way you get your food, going away from a linear process to one that is more station-oriented.”

Instead of serving lines, there will be five “action-stations” or “pods” — breakfast all day/bakery, comfort foods/home-style dishes, grill, sandwiches and pizza/pasta. Separate from that is a produce and salad bar station.

The new set-up allows for dishes to be prepared in front of diners rather than made in the back kitchen and brought out in large pans.

At the breakfast/bakery and pizza/pasta, there are seating areas at the station allowing diners to have a meal there instead of going to a seating area off to the side.

“It will have the feel of a restaurant rather than a cafeteria,” Wiksten said.

Two drink stations will be located in the seating areas rather than adjacent to the serving lines. A new tray drop is located on the north side of the facility and has been designed to move multiple trays at once, speeding up the long lines that typically occur at the tray stations.

The area where the dish room used to be has been completely removed, opening up the facility to the natural light from the south windows.

“A lot of people have told us they didn’t realize there were windows there because they were covered by the dish room-this new layout allows for them to be seen,” Wiksten said.

Entry to the facility will now occur from outside rather than coming into the building and entering on the east side. The area where the skylight is has been turned into an entry way and diners will go through an additional set of doors to swipe in. The old entrance has been walled over.

Accordingly, there will now be a set of restrooms in the northeast corner of the dining facility so diners do not have to leave the facility to use the restroom.

Wiksten said there will be more booths for diners to eat in and a larger space for single diners wanting more privacy to eat in. This became important since the removal of the dish room took away that space in along the south wall.

“We had requests for all types of different seating, and I think this new layout will accommodate everyone,” Wiksten said.

The renovation is similar to ones occurring across the nation, according to Wiksten.

“A lot of universities have dining facilities that were built in the 1950s and 60s and are now looking to update them. Diners have a different set of expectations so that means a new look for the space.”

The last major renovation of the physical space to Umphrey Lee was in 1984, with cosmetic changes made in the late 1990s.

The overhaul is a result of a MarketMATCH survey conducted by dining services in 2004. The feedback from those sessions resulted in a three-part plan that included renovations to The Market, the creation of Java City in Hughes-Trigg and now the overhaul of Umphrey-Lee.

Wiksten said any additional plans are on hold while the university decides how to go about a requirement to have second-year students live on campus.

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