A new semester can mean new sights on campus, as is the case with a few of the food vendors in Plaster Student Union that underwent renovations this summer.
Donald Weber, director of the PSU, said the renovations involved replacing Papa John’s and Grill Nation while performing a facade refresh on both Panda Express and Starbucks.
Papa John’s, which Weber described as “a brand students were not identifying with,” was replaced with Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, while Grill Nation will soon be replaced by another concept from Chartwells called Madison Avenue Pasta, which is still in development.
Weber said construction began shortly after commencement in the spring, and he hopes Madison Avenue Pasta will be ready sometime in September.
While the vendor replacements came about as a result of falling sales, the facade refreshes were required due to contracts with Panda Express and Starbucks.
“We have license agreements with all the brands here,” Weber said. “Just like you see out in the real world with McDonald’s and Kum & Go, they’re always doing facade and brand updates on their spaces. We have to do the same thing with our spaces too.”
According to Chief Financial Officer Stephen Foucart, the budget for these renovations was set at $1.1 million and is to be paid for by Chartwells.
“Chartwells, under our contract, periodically funds to provide for refresh and some new modifications to the food venues,” Foucart said.
Weber said the most expensive of these changes would be Freddy’s, due to the drastic changes within the space, followed by Starbucks, Panda Express and Madison Avenue Pasta respectively.
Though Freddy’s was open on Aug. 16, it was closed the following Monday due to electrical problems. Weber anticipates the vendor will resume service on Aug. 27 if repairs go as planned.
Weber also said construction for Madison Avenue Pasta has been slow due to the challenge of developing a totally new concept within the space that was formerly Grill Nation, though progress is being made.
“We’re just making sure that everything is going to be 100% correct so that we have a fully operational and functional space for students,” Weber said.
While vendor refurbishment will soon be taken care of, Weber also mentioned future changes to the Remembrance Lounge which houses the PSU’s piano.
The changes are set to be made sometime this semester with the name being changed to the Traditions Lounge and the area to be designed by Traditions Council.
With the completion of these renovations, as well as the renovations made to Chick-fil-A in 2018, Weber said all of the vendors in the PSU will have been recently refreshed and up to standards.