New Facility Will Offer Multitude of Dining Options

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UC Berkeley will open a new and expanded dining facility between Unit 1 and Unit 2-part of a larger plan to expand and diversify meal options, a university official said at Wednesday night's ASUC Senate meeting.

The facility will be called Crossroads and is scheduled to open in January to replace the dining commons at Unit 1, said Harry Le Grande, assistant vice chancellor of residential and student service programs.

Unit residents have been packed into the dining commons at Unit 1 since the Unit 2 dining commons was closed last spring because of on-site construction.

"(A new dining commons) would be so convenient," said UC Berkeley student Adriana Nevado, a resident of Cunningham Hall. "Sometimes I don't go to dinner here because I don't want to cross the street."

The building plan is a cost-saving measure to replace the seismically unsafe dining facilities at Unit 1 and Unit 2.

Le Grande's office found it would be cheaper to build a new dining commons than repair the existing ones.

The 35,000 square foot facility will expand seating capacity from the current options to 804 people, Le Grande said.

Crossroads will feature a series of cooking stations including a grill, bakery, Mongolian cooking and Italian food.

"It is a really exciting opportunity for us in dining services to really wow the students and show them what we can do," said Michael Laux, general manager of Unit 1.

He added the food service system is modeled after other UC campuses where food is prepared in small batches in front of the students. Laux said students will immediately see a visual improvement in the facilities.

"They will see freshness of the food, and the mystery will be gone," he said.

Similar to the current dining commons, Crossroads will also have a salad and deli bar as well as beverage and cereal stations.

But it will also offer students an espresso machine, Dreyer's ice cream and fresh-baked products.

Although the kitchen will not offer kosher or halal options, it will accommodate other dietary preferences, including vegetarian and vegan meals.

"At each station you should be able to find a vegetarian option," Laux said. "It will be so easy, if (people) did want a variety (of food), they could jump (to different stations)."

The plan will likely ameliorate long lines common in the current dining system because food will be prepared "just in time" for students, Laux added.

"You produce in batches of 20 to 25," Laux said. "You see what your pattern of service is and adjust accordingly."

Because of the success of the Bear Market in Unit 1 and Unit 3, which offers dining options between scheduled meal times, planners designed the new facility to accommodate students who have difficulty eating during designated time slots.

The Den, a cafe located inside Crossroads, will be open from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. and will serve food and beverages, much like the Golden Bear Cafe.

"We really wanted to get something convenient for students so that they could take food to class and back to the dorms," Laux said.

Plans to incorporate similar serving methods at the other dining commons are in progress.

"We are doing a modified version of this at Foothill and Unit 3," Laux said, although no construction has begun.

He added they may add a similar facility at Clark Kerr after renovation, scheduled to begin in 2004.

The same facility will also accommodate offices for the 169 employees in the Residential and Student Service Programs.


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