AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Tiger Dining is gearing up for several changes following signing a new contract with Aramark.
Director of Campus Dining Glen Loughridge shared that one of the biggest ambitions is a new dining hall to be located across the green space next to the future Academic Classroom and Laboratory Complex that will be built once Parker and Allison halls are demolished. The new facility is expected to have 800 seats, two spots for Au Bon Pain and Panda Express, a dining hall, a second floor terrace and several rooms that could be reserved for organizational meetings or other events.
Here's what else Loughridge said is changing beginning this summer and continuing until 2020:
The Student Center is going to be seeing some big changes this fall. In addition to renovations on the second floor, Steak 'n Shake will be going in Papa John's location. On the first floor, API and Mediterranean Cafe will be replaced with Salad Works and Cat Cora. Salad Works is a fresh make-your-own salad restaurant and Cat Cora is Mediterranean inspired food.
Starbucks will continue to operate in the same location for now, but will be moving to ABP's first floor location once ABP moves to the new dining hall across the green space. That will allow Starbucks to operate in a true coffee shop feel, similar to the Lowder location.
And, Chick-fil-a will soon be due for a facelift. Also exciting for Chick-fil-a fans, grilled nuggets will be coming to the menu.
Foy dining will be converted into a traditional dining hall. Student will be able to use meal swipes or their declining Tiger Card balance inside and will see meals priced at $9 or less. Panda Express will stay in Foy for now. Also coming, Prevail Union will be getting a permanent shop near Chicken Salad Chick. And, beloved Chicken Salad Chick isn't going anywhere.
The Village dining will begin accepting meal swipes for its dining hall. Looking further ahead, plans are being drawn up to put a Chick-fil-a Express in that space as well.
Lowder Starbucks will stay right where it is and there are plans to have a food option in the new Graduate Business Building, once it's construction is complete in Spring 2019.
Mobile ordering is to coming soon to the trucks, so students will be able to order as they're walking and then quickly grab their food. And, a Starbucks truck is coming with plans to locate it on the Roosevelt Concourse, near the Science Center Auditorium.
The Hill is going to look the same. Long-term, it will depend on what housing does. President Leath announced plans in his installation address to have a bed for every freshman on campus and to renovate many current halls. But for now, Terrell will continue to serve the Hill for dining.
The Wellness Kitchen will remain the same but will not be accepting meal swipes like Foy and the Village.
After several delays, Panera Bread will open this summer in the Mell Classroom Building.
Aramark will also be taking over concession stands at athletic venues across campus. One of the big changes is that students will be able to use their Tiger Card at all concession stands instead of just a select few.
Student input has played a major role in the upcoming changes. The SGA Dining Task Force has been working the past two years to improve dining and played a major part in the new contract and the changes coming to campus. Loughridge said, "literally you can take parts of that task force and see it in our dining contract."
"Because students were so involved from the beginning and we had a process that included them in every step, we didn't surprise a lot of people. The changes that have been made have been made with students in mind."
And campus dining will continue to change. "We're not going to stay static. There's going to be consistent investment in dining going forward."