An extensive renovation process is taking place this semester at Drumlin Dining Hall. The project is on schedule for its grand opening on the first day of the 2013 spring semester.
“This is the most exciting thing I have seen being done since I started working here,” Ann Rakowiecki, marketing director for Dining Services, said. “There won’t be anything else like it in the state of Wisconsin. When we all get through this little pain period, it’s going to be well worth the wait.”
The project has two parts. First, the main mechanics of the building need improvement, which includes heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The mechanical upgrade has been in the works and part of the budget for the past few years.
The second part of the project is the food service upgrade. Dining Services initially made a request for a new food service agreement. Food service contractors from across the country came to the university to bid on the contract.
Chartwells was again chosen to be the food service provider of the renovated Drumlin.
Drumlin was previously a food court-style, but Dining Services decided to change it to a buffet-style.
Rakowiecki said Drumlin’s new food service will not be like Esker’s.
“Students will see all of the food being prepared in the main dining room at different stations,” Rakowiecki said.
This decision was made primarily because of student input.
“We worked closely with the Dining Committee and feedback board on campus all last semester,” Tom Pellizzi, assistant director of dining and retail operations, said. “Convenience, efficiency and good-tasting food were the biggest concerns.”
Students can expect freshly prepared, smaller batches of food when Drumlin re-opens.
Dining Services also holds the responsibility of compensating for the lack of food for residents on the west side of campus.
They have opened up options in the University Center, including Willies 360, U.C. 69 Lunch to Go, Ike Schaffer Commons and Graham Street Café.
These locations now accept meal plans, in addition to dining dollars and off-campus meal plans.
Even with Esker as an option this semester, the U.C. is seeing an increase of around 1,800 people per day utilizing the U.C. dining options.
Many residents said they have been able to make do with the situation.
“I walk across campus to Esker every day; it isn’t a problem, yet,” sophomore Ryan Ramage said.
“They have been providing nicely for our side,” freshman Chelsey Schoenberger, said. “I know I really appreciate what they have been doing.”
Freshmen Maggie McCarthy and Stacey Kincade said Drumlin’s closing has allowed them to get into better shape and eat healthier at the U.C.
“It has made me go out and try new places instead of staying on this side of campus all the time,” freshman Scott Rudesill said.
For some students, the biggest issue has been convenience.
“Drumlin was quick and on-the-go if you needed,” sophomore David Jordan said. “Now, if I am in my room and if I want to go eat, it takes a little more effort and planning.”
Pellizzi said he understands the situation is not ideal, “but in three to four months, students will be loving the fact that they had to live with the pain for a little bit when they have a really great facility.”