North Texas Daily

UNT set to have its first stand-alone dining hall by 2020

UNT set to have its first stand-alone dining hall by 2020

The parking lot behind Kerr Hall is currently under construction for a new residence hall. Kelsey Shoemaker

UNT set to have its first stand-alone dining hall by 2020
January 17
21:38 2018

UNT will have its first stand-alone dining hall on the corner of Maple Street and Avenue A by 2020, with construction set to begin in August 2018. The plans were revealed at a UNT Board of Regents meeting in November 2017.

The approximately 36,000 square foot dining facility will be able to hold 700 people, as well as have a 2,500 square foot retail dining concept. The dining hall will aim to provide a modern dining experience and increase the accessibility of freshly prepared foods.

The new dining hall is set to replace the existing Kerr Hall dining facility and is part of the Maple and Avenue A-Master Plan.

“We were planning on doing renovations to Kerr,” Danny Armitage, associate vice president for auxiliary services, said. “But we found it was too small and didn’t have enough space for what we needed. It made better sense to build something new instead of renovating.”

The new facility will have a serving area about twice the size of Kerr’s, Armitage said.

“Some of our dining halls are exceeding capacity, meaning we’ve got a lot of customers but we don’t always have the proper amount of space to serve them,” Armitage said.

The facility will follow the whole foods model, serving only fresh ingredients.

The vice chancellor for facilities planning and construction, James Maguire, gave a brief presentation at the Board of Regents meeting highlighting what is currently known about the project.

“The master plan calls for the intensive development of this area for housing and student life,” Maguire said. “Three projects are on the boards and just getting underway in terms of construction.”

The three projects include a new 500-bed residence hall which will define the southern edge of campus and Gateway at the corner of Avenue A and Eagle Drive, a visitor’s center and the new dining facility.

Freshman forensics major Justice Robinson said she is happy there will be another eating option in the future.

“I think the dining halls can be a little crowded and it’s nice that we will have another facility to help the congestion in the dining halls we already have,” Robinson said. “Crowding is in every cafeteria and with a new one I won’t have to strategically plan out which one to go to.”

Armitage talked about plans for the future of the space where Kerr dining is currently located.

“We’re taking a look at that space to see what we can do with it,” Armitage said. “Kerr Hall is a little low on community space and student activity areas. I’m hoping we’ll be able to capture some of that space and make good use of it.”

Armitage said that other possibilities for the future of the space could be a Living Learning Community or even creating classrooms.

As for the 2,500 square foot retail dining area, Armitage said the university is currently looking into national brands that will add some flare to the retail dining we already have. Some of the names being thrown around as possibilities include Panera Bread, Panda Express and Steak n’ Shake, according to Armitage.

In a search for inspiration, Armitage said the university has been looking at other dining facilities all over the country to see what new and exciting aspects can be included to make this new facility unique.

“We’re somewhat challenged because the dining here is so creative already,” Armitage said. “But I think it’s going to be really exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together.”

Featured Image: File Photo

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel was the news editor at the North Texas Daily from August 2018 to May 2019, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to August 2018.

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