Debot is set to be shut down for a year and renovated and revamped starting at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
Students should mark their calendars for Friday, May 18, 2018, which is the day Debot will serve its last meal, according to Suzette Conley, the Director of Dining and Summer Conferences.
After the last meal, all of the equipment and furniture will be removed to be stored or used in the other dining options that are going to be available. Debot itself will be closed completely until it reopens to serve students in the fall 2019 semester.
Debot serves 87 percent of the meals on campus, according to a press release from the University Communications and Marketing. To make up for the loss of space, other dining locations like the Dreyfus University Center food court, the Food for Thought Café, Homegrown Café and the café that will be in the new Chemistry and Biology building will expand its offerings and hours.
“The convenience store will move to the Science Building in rooms D114 and D116,” said Conley.
The store will also expand grocery, deli and pizza options. Modifications are going to be made in summer 2018.
“The buffet-style all-you-can-eat concept from Upper Debot will be put in modular units that will go on the Allen center tennis courts,” said Conley. These modular units will snap together to provide a space that will seat and serve 300 students at a given time and will have extended hours of service to accommodate students better.
“They will have a cook kitchen, production kitchen, ware washing unit, storage, as well as seating and serving for 300 students,” said Holly Bleser, Financial Specialist Senior and Summer Conferences Coordinator.
“They will be installed over the summer of 2018 and operational by August and removed by May 2019,” said Conley. “The Allen center was an idea brought up to be renovated as a temporary dining hall but the cost and time it would take to renovate and make it a dining hall was a major issue so the decision was made to go with the modular units.”
Conley said she does not anticipate any changes in student employment as Dining Services will still need all their student staff.
“The new Debot remodeling will include a more open concept with three major skylights to help provide natural lighting,” said Conley.
Debot will still have all of its current lines but also include new ones like an allergen-friendly station, international station, home cooking station, and desserts and ice cream will be combined into one area.
“Each line will have new things to bring to the dining experience, for example, the international line will feature a four foot Mongolian grill,” said Conley.
“On the lower level, updates will increase space and efficiency for the convenience store and bakery as well as provide additional seating areas and meeting room space, enhanced accessibility and restroom improvements,” said the press release.
Lower Debot will have better combined storage, which will allow modifications to the large meeting rooms and sitting area for dining.
“The project is set for $16,848,000,” said Conley. This will help replace the air handlers in the facility as they are original to the 50-year-old building. This will also provide funds to put fire sprinklers throughout the entire building, renovate entrances and optimize space as well as possible.
“Yes, it’s going to be an inconvenience, but we need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We need to see the long term effects of what the final product will be,” said Conley.
Conley added that the Noel Fine Arts Center and DUC both were shut down to be remodeled once upon a time, and it was inconvenient. “But look how beautiful they turned out.”
“It’s unsure whether prices will go up or down during and after the project is finished as dining is supported solely from revenue,” said Bleser.
With the new building comes new menus, new recipes and new meal plans that will all be a part of the new and improved Debot.