For more than 30 years the De La Guerra dining common has been filled with the busy conversations of college freshmen. But soon this UCSB icon will take a break from the social scene to undergo some much needed “me time,” during which students will be assigned to a specific place to eat.

DLG will close for a year starting in June while it undergoes both structural and interior renovations, leaving Ortega and the newly renovated Carrillo dining commons to feed 2,600 campus residents, the 150 to 200 others who purchase meal plans each year and roughly 1,500 visitors.

Representatives from Residential Dining Services, Residential Life, the Residence Halls Association and workers from each dining common decided that starting next year, each residence hall will be assigned to a particular dining common.

“What we don’t want to have happen is to inconvenience anybody who comes to a facility and for whatever reason, it’s too crowded, they can’t get in and they can’t get to class,” RDS Associate Director Judy Edner said.

Students living in the Santa Cruz, Anacapa, San Nicholas and San Miguel residence halls will be assigned to Ortega each day for lunch and dinner, typically the commons’ busiest meal times. Students living in Santa Rosa, San Rafael and Manzanita Village will be assigned to Carrillo, which is located across the lagoon from Santa Rosa, next to the San Rafael and Manzanita residence halls. Students will have the option to eat where they choose during breakfast and during any meal Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Edner does not expect the temporary loss of DLG to be a problem. For the past year, as Carrillo has undergone renovations, RDS has been able to accommodate students with just the use of Ortega and DLG. Next year, the university expects 2,000 students to live near Ortega and 1,100 to live near Carrillo.

“That’s why we decided to do some assignments, because … we didn’t want Ortega to be completely swamped and our brand new facility to be under-utilized,” Edner said.

RDS plans to reevaluate the situation after Fall Quarter starts next year.

Students were given a chance to express their concerns at an open forum that took place last quarter. Freshman Katie Dubiel was skeptical of the value of the DLG renovations.

“I don’t think new kitchen appliances are worth the long walk at night,” she said.

RHA President Jacob Haik said issues concerning nighttime safety have been considered and steps will be taken to ensure that all students make it to and from their meals safely. Precautions will include increased lighting, especially by the stairwells, as well as an expanded version of the transportation system that has moved students from San Rafael to Ortega this year while Carrillo has been closed.

Ortega Manager Mike Conaway said he plans to incorporate more buffet-style food bars into his menus and to utilize expanded take-out capabilities, which will be served from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We always have had the ability to handle the larger crowds,” he said.

While primary renovation will improve DLG’s ability to withstand earthquakes, a complete interior renovation is also planned. Key enhancements of the interior renovation include the introduction of a new system of “platform” food delivery.

“It’s like stepping into the kitchen and standing by the grills,” Edner said, “so that when you’re ordering a burger, getting some chicken or whatever, you’re seeing it made in front of you.”

All of the facilities are expected to be renovated and back in full operation by 2005.