Vol. 4 No. 31 | Aug. 20, 2008


Dining expansion: The only food challenge is choosing where to eat

A dozen or so NAU students dressed in their new Starbucks garb listened intently as two corporate trainers explained the finer points of working for the coffee giant.

In less than 24 hours, the coffee shop was scheduled to open, and one exuberant student behind the counter exclaimed, "Yes!" and pumped his fist in anticipation.

Although Starbucks has sold its products on campus for 11 years, this shop, located on the east side of the University Union, is the first franchise Starbucks store to operate on the Flagstaff campus.

The new store is part of NAU's multimillion-dollar dining expansion that adds 24,000 square feet to the Union and renovates an additional 2,000 square feet. South Dining, in du Bois Center, also received a makeover.

"This is going to be a great gathering place for students," said Jane Kuhn, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. "It's hip, it's hot, and we think students are really going to like it."

On the first floor of the expansion are six new retail outlets, including Einstein's Bagels, which also will serve soup and sandwiches; Jamba Juice; the Sub Connection; 155 Grill, serving hamburgers, fries, etc.; AFC Sushi and Rice Bowl as well as the Starbucks. These outlets are in addition to the Hot Spot and Chick-Fil-A that are also in the Union and will soon be joined by Cabrizio's Mexican Grill.

The first floor also has a stage area where about 200 students can gather for performances. A redo of the familiar outside amphitheater will be ready in a couple of weeks.

The union was abuzz with construction workers, student workers and food service employees on Tuesday morning, but Kuhn said the dining expansion will be ready for move-in day on Thursday, Aug. 21.

There may be a few items to take care of, she said, but breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served from about 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Students can use Dining Dollars or their meal plans at any of the outlets.

Upstairs at the Union will be plenty of seating, two balconies, a lounge and an area for internet connection.

At South Dining, students will find a remodeled all-you-can-eat restaurant, a new pizza parlor, Freshens Energy Zone, Magellan's, a remodeled salad bar and an Einstein's Express. The Timber Inn '50s-style diner remains in the North Union.

"Not only is the food and the selection improved, but students will find that it flows faster," Kuhn said. "We will make sure everyone is served quickly."

She is especially proud of some of the "green" additions to dining.

In the University Union hallway will be a new outlet called Oasis, featuring free filtered water for students to fill up their water bottles. "We want to discourage students from buying bottled water and throwing the containers away," she said.

Oasis also will sell reusable bottles as well as healthful snacks.

The expansion's restrooms used recycled materials, including recycled metal in the countertops. Water-saving devices are also featured.

The expansion cost about $9.5 million with Sodexo adding another $2 million. The design was led by OWP/P architects with contractor KCS Construction doing the building.

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