On Dec. 13, 2019, at the close of the fall semester, The Café will be closing for renovations and will not be reopening for two years. Students will be able to find more information about what food options will be available and where to find them, in addition to concerns about why these changes are coming and questions about how the renovation project will affect them going forward, in communications from Student Services.
The Café plans to be open and offering all currently available items right up until they bring down the gate on their final day, according to Jon Buse, Vice President of Student Services. Taking the place of The Café once it closes will be food stations available in the book store and as needed on campus. Regarding concerns about the availability of hot food and fresh vegetables, the stations will be serving “a combination of things that you can warm up yourself and are available hot, along with prepacked salads and snacks”, said Buse. Linn Hall will be the primary location for food service, with the book store being a quick stop for students in nearby buildings.
Those who have purchased meal plans in the past will be informed prior to the start of the next semester as to what their options and costs will be. Students with ideas for food can reach out and are encouraged to be flexible as the project evolves. “I believe that food service is open to feedback. My expectation of the overall project, as service providers to the students, is that we’re going to have to try some things out and see what works”, Buse said.
According to Buse, every attempt has been made to address concerns about convenience and accessibility to services during the renovation process, and a lot of thought has already gone in to how this will affect the daily lives of students at the main campus. “This project is something that I have helped lead and is going to be transformational for Kirkwood students. Our planning has been…how will we make the experience as positive as possible for students? Our goal is to minimize that impact…and do everything that we can to make that experience as positive as possible”, Buse stated.
Students were involved in the decision-making process from the very beginning so that changes such as the Café renovation and the availability of food stations were made with the best interests of students at heart. “What’s important as we have led this, is the more inclusive and collaborative approach that we took, meeting with more than thirty groups of students of different ages, races, programs, remote and on-campus, to guide in our decision making” Buse explained.
While the challenges of the renovation may affect every student in some way, the “end result will be worth the wait”, as the new Café and the student life center that surrounds it, will be designed with a positive student experience at the heart of the project. “I see this ultimately as a space that makes sense to students, where they have ownership and a place of their own, as a true student union would have”, Buse concluded.
Students are encouraged to share their ideas or concerns with Jon Buse directly at Jon.Buse@kirkwood.edu and to check the renovations page regularly for general questions and updates at https://www.kirkwood.edu/renovations.