Jan 28, 2020

Loss of options

The campus ‘Master Plan’ doesn’t make room for food

Soon, students will have to look elsewhere to get their Taco Bell fix.

Starting in Spring 2009, demolition of the University Center, which houses Taco Bell, will begin. This is part of the university’s Master Plan, a 10-year strategy that details changes to the university’s buildings and infrastructure, such as Campus Pointe and the expanded Henry Madden Library.

Taco Bell, The Bucket and The Vintage Room will have to be transferred to another location or, if there is no location available, those services will be removed from campus. The Food Services Committee is currently discussing its options.

“We’re in talks about where to move them, but it’s been difficult finding a new location. There is really no room left in the Master Plan,” Brent Hansen, marketing coordinator for Auxiliary Corporations, said.

From food to Free Speech

The University Center is being demolished so that the size of the Free Speech Area can be increased, said Tom Gaffery, Administrative Project Coordinator for the Office of the Vice President for Administration.

“It’s being demolished to make way for the Free Speech Plaza, which will link the library, Peace Garden, Free Speech Area and Rose Garden and make it into one cohesive outdoor space,” Gaffery said.

If Taco Bell and the others are removed, there will only be Panda Express, Subway and Chick-fil-A left on a campus with over 22,000 students, giving them scarce food options. The lines and demand are already high for these restaurants and they may increase if Taco Bell is gone, according to Hansen.

“We are looking at logistics in how lines will operate. We will probably see an influx in business at our other venues,” Hansen said.

“No space”

The committee is well aware of how this will affect students.

“They will probably be disappointed and upset. We are disappointed as well, but we’re trying to counteract that. We are looking at grab-and-go ideas to try and balance things out,” Hansen said.

Freshman Kashoua Thao thinks that the lines are already too crowded.

“The lines, especially for Subway, are always long and sometimes there is only one person cashiering,” Thao said.

Hansen said that there is no plan to bring any more fast-food restaurants to campus anytime soon. It’s not part of the Master Plan and it can be a long process. It usually takes a year and it requires identifying potential vendors, talking with them, having them visit the campus and eventually creating contracts.

“It’s really a logistics issue, not a financial issue,” Hansen said. “We would like to give more food options to students. There’s just no space for it.”

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