With construction projects running rampant on campus, University officials differ on whether the University Union Food Court can still be finished on schedule.
According to Karen Fennie, communications specialist in physical facilities, all campus construction projects, including the New University Union Food Court, are on track for completion by August 2013, as scheduled.
“Work will get underway in a few weeks and completion is scheduled for Aug. 2013,” Fennie said. “[University Union] north and Food Service renovations are on track.”
But Peter Napolitano, director of auxiliary services, claims the renovations to the Food Court will not be completed until January 2014, saying that the original schedule for construction is unrealistic.
“We just put a more realistic time schedule on the project itself, which knocked it back a semester,” Napolitano said. “With the amount of renovation that we were putting in to get done, if we stayed within that time frame, it would have been much more aggressive than we wanted it to be to get the job done right.”
The renovations will merge the former Susquehanna Room and Food Court into a more open food marketplace, with more eatery options, Fennie said. This will include a 5,500-square-foot addition.
Builders are currently in the process of demolition, after which the renovations will begin, Napolitano said.
Students will not be able to walk between the Old and New Unions indoors until the project is nearly complete, Napolitano said.
Erin McArdle, a sophomore in the Decker School of Nursing, lamented having to walk outdoors to navigate between the two Unions.
“It’s a big inconvenience, especially with the weather,” McArdle said. “I always used to cut through from one side to get to the other, particularly when it was cold or raining. Our options for food are also super limited to whatever is being offered in community dining halls. It’s all very bothersome.”
Allyson Kritzer, a sophomore majoring in bioengineering, said she sees the closing of the Food Court as a huge inconvenience.
“The Union being closed has put a huge damper on my semester. I usually spend my nights in the library after the dining halls were closed so I would resort to the Union. Now I must resort to bagels,” Kritzer said, referring to Einstein Bros Bagels. on campus.
Construction on Lecture Hall, the Chenango Room, Einstein Bros Bagels, and improvements to the athletic fields were all completed this summer.
“[They] were all completed on schedule,” Fennie said.
She added that other projects such as the Central Campus Quad, HTHW replacement and the Center of Excellence are all on track to be completed on schedule by August 2013.
The most expensive project underway is the construction of the four Dickinson Community buildings, which will cost an estimated $350 million, Fennie said.
Eric Bieniek, a junior majoring in biology, said he enjoys the recently completed projects.
“I think Einstein Bros Bagels is great, they have amazing bagels, and the new tennis courts look great,” Bieniek said. “I guess the lecture halls look good, too.”
Michael Dwyer, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said that recent changes have made campus life easier.
“Einstein Bros Bagels is a welcome change, and can be really convenient,” Dwyer said. “I like the new Lecture Hall, it’s much easier to navigate now.”