Campus dining commons are in for some serious changes, but not to the menu.
De La Guerra Dining Commons is expected to begin the first stages of reconstruction this month, nine months after closing for renovations. A contracting bid that would begin scheduled retrofitting and interior renovations to the building is expected to be settled this week. The renovation is part of a campuswide program intended to modernize the residential dining commons.
The reconstruction has been delayed because of administrative difficulties, Residence Halls Dining Services Director Judy Edner said. Other Housing and Residential Services projects such as the recent acquisition of the Francisco Torres residence hall and plans for a graduate student housing complex have delayed the remodeling of the dining commons, she said. The other projects have also put a squeeze on an already tight budget. With such large projects underway, the university has been cautious about its budget allocations.
Currently, Ortega and the recently refurbished Carrillo Dining Commons have had to meet demand for all on-campus residence hall dining. When DLG is finished, reconstruction on Ortega will begin. When that is complete, dining hall assignments for each residence hall will be changed.
“When all three are ready, they will be able to support all of the about 3,400 students living on campus,” Edner said.
Since the school year started, students living in Santa Rosa Hall, San Rafael Hall and Manzanita Village have been assigned to eat lunch and dinner at Carrillo, on the north side of the Campus Lagoon. Several safety measures have been put in place by the Residence Hall Association to make this trek safer, including more lights along campus paths. When DLG reopens, eating in the dining commons will be more convenient for on-campus residents, Edner said.
“I think, for the most part, students understand it will be better for the future,” RHA President Jacob Haik said. “We’ll be getting rid of the big, long lines.”
The renovations are expected to cost about $12 million, DLG Procurement and Systems Coordinator Bonnie Crouse said.
“It should be open about this time next year,” UCSB Design and Construction Project Manager Ed Marini said. He said he expects bidding to be settled within days, followed by a month of negotiations and about a year of construction. Marini said he did not know how many companies were bidding on the project.
The point of these renovations is to shore up the building’s structure, Marini said. The retrofitting should improve the building’s ability to withstand earthquakes and time. In addition, he said, many interior upgrades are planned that will improve service and make overall operations more efficient.
Improvements will include a new food serving system, a mobile dividing wall for late-night dining and other decorating touches.