Student Center Working Down to the Wire to Finish Food Court

Jason Levy gives Temple Update a tour of the new food court.

It’s out with the old and in with the new at the Howard Gittis Student Center as the fall semester kicks off.

The Student Center saw major renovations beginning the day after graduation and will continue into the wee hours of the morning on August 28, the first day of classes.

The atrium received a cosmetic overhaul, with new flooring, information desk, and furniture, but a brand new Starbucks now calls the atrium home. The only vendor in the student center to offer breakfast, Starbucks will open at 8:30am Monday morning, just in time for classes.

But those aren’t the only new features students will encounter. The second floor food court has been entirely redesigned, featuring LED light fixtures, flat screens, microwaves, furniture, and multiple new dining options.

The changes to the dining options at the student center comes as Aramark takes over the dining contract at Temple University. Temple’s contract with former food service provider, Sodexo, ended this summer. Despite the contracting shift, 75% of the former Sodexo line staff has been rehired under Aramark.

New vendors Chick-fil-a, Which Wich, Twisted Taco, Zen, Zaya, Saladworks, and BurgerFi were hard at work training their brand new staff when Temple Update got a preview of the new layout. Temple’s BurgerFi is the first college campus location in the company’s history.

All these tasty options will be available on the first day of classes at 11am.

The redesign, which was funded by Aramark, focuses on bright colors, more natural light, and creating an area where students want to hang out, according to Jason Levy, Senior Director of Student Center Operations. Levy had a hand in the project from start to finish, and is excited to see what students think about the new food court and atrium spaces.

The way you pay at the student center will also change. Students will no longer have to wait in line for food and then again to pay, and will instead pay at the vendors counter. Students will also be able to use meal swipes and Diamond Dollars to pay for their food. Another new addition? A Diamond Dollar office right off the circle dining area and a Diamond Dollar deposit machine, making it easier for students to access their meal money.

As for decor, there will be five MTVU flat screens, 50 paintings by Temple Trustee Dennis Alter, and a large 12 foot by 16 foot LED television that will screen the Notre Dame vs Temple football game. New vinyl covers the walls with maps of Philadelphia and more.

While the space looks different, something remain the same. The new food court it still holds 750 seats – the same number before the overhaul. And Tapingo, the app that allows students to order their food and have it ready for pick up, will return to all student center vendors on October 1.

The lower level of the student center, home to the book store and the UPS store, will remain untouched for another year or two before it is renovated to match the rest of the building.

Levy said that the construction crew, many of which have been working up to 20 hours a day to complete the project on time, will be working down to the wire to make sure that everything is perfect for those students coming in Monday. “We’re about 90% there,” said Levy. “Just corner caps and touch ups [left to be done].”

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