Kansas University students who live and eat on campus will be seeing some upgrades to the menu in the coming years.
As Gertrude Sellards Pearson Hall reopens in the fall after a $13.1 million renovation, it will have a revamped food service area with new dining options.
The dining area was designed with the assistance of a food service consultant, and follows a planned renovation for Mrs. E’s, the larger dining facility in Lewis Hall that serves KU’s Daisy Hill residence halls.
Sheryl Kidwell, KU Dining Services’ assistant director for residential dining, said the newly named North College Cafe would be open to all students with a dining plan.
Previously, the dining facility in GSP consisted mostly of a self-service buffet in the dining room, Kidwell said. Before the renovations, it was open only to residents of GSP and Corbin halls, which share a residential complex at 500 W. 11th St.
The new area will pick up on campus dining trends across the country, featuring cook-to-order setups, where students can choose their own ingredients at stations featuring Italian food, ramen noodles and a pizza oven.
“Everything in there is brand new, ceiling to floor,” Kidwell said.
The new renovations were paid for by KU Dining Services and KU’s Department of Student Housing, which are both funded by fees collected from students.
The Mrs. E’s renovations start next summer, and while plans are still being formed, the Kansas Board of Regents has approved the renovation for a cost of just under $3 million, Kidwell said. The same food service consultant will participate in the planning for those renovations.
One idea for Mrs. E’s involves adding a barbecue smoker.
“That’s one thing we don’t offer a lot of,” Kidwell said, even though the dining areas do offer the occasional pulled pork sandwich or other barbecue item. “We thought of it as the whole idea of doing barbecue right.”
Addison Polk, a senior from Wichita, lived in Corbin three years ago, and remembered the food as being “decent for cafeteria food,” though she and her friends would occasionally go to Mrs. E’s across campus for a better selection.
“More healthier options,” she said when asked if she would recommend any improvements to the food. “I feel like the healthier options weren’t as preferable, so it was easy to eat the pizza or a hamburger.”
— Higher education reporter Andy Hyland can be reached at 832-6388. Follow him at Twitter.com/LJW_KU.