For those on campus during the summer, the sight of construction signs around University Union might seem like an eyesore, but behind closed doors, spaces around the building are being transformed. Next semester, students will be able to enjoy Dunkin’ Donuts without leaving the Tillman Lobby.
Dunkin’ Donuts will be replacing the Café Tillman, formerly located in the Tillman Lobby of Old University Union, and will offer a full Dunkin’ Donuts menu, including donuts, coffee and specialty drinks. Jim Ruoff, resident district manager of BU Dining Services, wrote in an email that the addition has been in the works since 2015.
“During our retention process two years ago we decided to include Dunkin’ Donuts in our bid package,” Ruoff wrote. “This decision was made through surveys, focus groups and demographic data. With the transportation hub, the student foot traffic through the University Union and the new Admission Center the Tillman Lobby seemed like a great spot for the Dunkin’ Donuts.”
In addition to the new Dunkin’ Donuts, BU Dining Services has also announced that the Pandini’s station in the Marketplace will be replaced with a single-slice pizza station, operated by CopperTop Tavern, which already has a location next to Tully’s in University Plaza on Vestal Parkway. BU Dining Services has declined to comment on the partnership, but according to Ruoff, the new pizza station was necessitated by student demand for New York-style pizza and quicker service.
“We really wanted to … change our pizza program from a cook-to-order personal pizza program to an order-by-the-slice program,” Ruoff wrote. “It is much quicker to serve a slice of pizza than to cook a pizza from the raw product which will increase our customer satisfaction.”
Both venues are set to open in August, just in time for the start of the fall semester. Although hours of operation have yet to be determined for both businesses, Ruoff stated that the Dunkin’ Donuts will likely be open seven days per week with hours starting in the morning and ending in the evening, and the pizza station will hold hours similar to its predecessor, Pandini’s.
The addition of Dunkin’ Donuts and CopperTop Tavern join Starbucks and Subway, which opened last fall, as outside vendors on campus. Ruoff stated that there are no current plans to add any other food retailers to the options available on campus, but it is possible that there will be more changes in the future.
“I am approached constantly by companies interested in coming to our campus,” Ruoff wrote. “At this point there are no definite changes to announce, but we are always looking at improved offerings in the future.”
Construction is also ongoing within the University Bookstore, which is being fully renovated. According to Pete Napolitano, BU’s director of auxiliary services, the upper floor will be renovated to include three large windows looking out onto the Spine, and seating and a community table will be added on the lower floor.
“We are maximizing the space in the store to reconfigure the layout to give students more access to text books, course materials and Binghamton University-branded clothing items,” Napolitano wrote.