Students frustrated with crowds in Lenoir Dining Hall might be in for a surprise when they return for the spring semester: The bottom floor will be without 150 seats.
It’s part of the larger plan to add about 200 additional seats to the top of the heavily trafficked dining hall, in an effort to alleviate overcrowding.
But to account for increased overcrowding that the construction might cause, two heated tents will be placed around Lenoir — one at the front and another on the side facing Wilson Library — to compensate for lost space.
At the Top of Lenoir, the back wall behind the condiments station, near the Grill, will be removed and the floor space will be expanded.
Lenoir’s $5 million in renovation costs is part of a $6.5 million effort to renovate the dining hall and the Student Union, said Scott Myers, director of food and vending.
He said that the tents will be removed in May, and construction will finish by mid-August. By then, there should be a net gain of about 50 seats inside Lenoir, and UNC will be looking for outside seating options.
The plan will require builders to drill into the basement and add support beams for the extension. And Myers said students, if they are lucky, might be able to view the project from the comfort of their seats upstairs.
The top of Lenoir will look drastically different after construction is finished, including an extended salad bar and the addition of servers at the Bistro.
In fall 2011, the basement of the Student Union will close for the first phase of its much-debated, much-discussed $1.5 million renovations.
“Phase one is building the entire building up to code and will begin in fall 2011 and adding new food services where the print shop is already,” said Don Luse, director of the Carolina Union, referring to the Wendy’s restaurant that will eventually face South Road.
A contract has yet to be signed between Aramark, the food service provider for the University, and Wendy’s. The University has already approved the proposed Wendy’s.
Students will still be able to walk through the building to reach the upper level. But once construction begins, the study area and Union Cabaret will be closed.
“Though I’m not impacted by the study area being closed, the (Union) Cabaret being closed will be an inconvenience for a lot of groups,” said Clare Shaffer, a freshman who has performed in the Union Cabaret and is a member of a student drama organization.
Luse said the University is working to procure alternate spaces for student groups to use while the Union Cabaret is closed. He said those spaces have yet to be determined by University officials.
The second phase of the Union renovation will be sent to a student referendum Feb. 8.
“We believe that if students see and understand what we’re proposing, that they’ll support it,” Luse said.
Dining Services will give away food Sunday at noon for students interested in hearing about the project.
Freshman Chris Bradfield said the renovations could push students to his normal studying area.
“I usually study in front of Alpine (Bagel Cafe),” Bradfield said. “So it might get crowded upstairs if the studying area in the basement is closed.”
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