Collaborative, creative and comfortable are among the adjectives the University Student Center Board of Directors use to describe some of the design elements with the new Stan State Student Center opening Jan. 27 but the campus community may be equally as interested in another word beginning with “C” — “cuisine.”
“Food has always offered a gathering point for people and it will be really nice to have a place that feels comfortable,” said Tim Overgaauw, director of facilities operations. “We want students who have a morning class to stay here until their 3 p.m. class and provide them with a comfortable place for them to sit and enjoy some food and beverages.”
As the project nears completion, the board recently announced some of the new vendors moving into the space.
“It is a great variety of food that will be provided for students,” said University Student Center Board Chair Jennifer Galeana-Vasquez. “Both outside and in-house dining options will be available, which will give students more choices to explore and opportunities to enjoy different types of food.”
The first outside vendor to go in is Starbucks, which Overgaauw said was part of the plan since the inception of the project.
“Starbucks will be on the north side of the building,” Overgaauw said. “It’s attached, but separate so it can set its own extended hours that aren’t dependent on the rest of the building being open.”
The second outside vendor is Shake Smart, a company founded by two college students who, according to the company’s website, “found it difficult to find healthy options while living the college on-the-go lifestyle.”
Shake Smart’s mission is to make healthy eating more accessible to students, offering menu items such as shakes, bowls, coffee and other quick bites that are high in protein and can be customized to fit lactose-free, gluten-free and vegan lifestyles.
“It’s a fantastic concept,” said Overgaauw. “Students can choose from classic shakes with almond milk, soy milk and organic plant protein and they can add in greens and veggies.”
Shake Smart also makes acaí bowls, oatmeal, sandwiches and wraps at its other 13 locations, mostly on college campuses.
Some of the other dining options inside the new Student Center may be familiar to students, yet updated. Overgaauw said the Center’s atrium will include a two-vendor space with a sushi counter. Students will be able to order sushi prepared onsite or choose from pre-packaged items.
Warrior Grill is returning, but with a new twist. Overgaauw said the eatery was an integral part of the project. Its updated design will include shuffleboard and pool tables and large garage-style doors that open up to an outdoor patio with plenty of seating.
Overgraauw said the new and improved Warrior Grill will still offer its tasty burgers, fries and other pub faire but will also feature a brand-new concept; a state-of-the-art pizza oven he predicts will be a big draw.
“It’s really a fantastic pizza oven. It’s a signature piece with a viewing window that faces out toward the students,” he said.
The new oven cooks at high heat and will be able to produce a large number of pizzas in a short amount of time.
Overgaauw said the new Warrior Grill will also include a bar area, which will serve beer and wine.
“I think it’s going to be a fun place for people to gather,” he said. “We wanted it to be like the campus living room with a homey feel.”
The new Student Center will also include a farm-to-fork style eatery called “Titus Grown.” Named after the Stan State mascot, the space will offer soups, salads and sandwiches with produce grown by students.
The Center will also include a new convenience store called “The Market.” Its offerings will be similar to “Pops,” which currently sits inside Main Dining, but will feature new grocery items suited for the residential housing lifestyle.
“I am most excited for students to utilize the spaces in the Student Center,” said Galeana-Vasquez. “It was designed to be modern and up-to-date for our students.”
The SC Board of Directors Operations Committee had a large role in designing the space and selecting the vendors. Galeana-Vasquez said the SC Board, professional staff and student assistants have met with the design company numerous times since 2015 to engage in discussions on almost every aspect of the building.
“We visited nine CSU campuses and asked about their processes, tips and advice,” said Galeana-Vasquez. “They all have very unique student centers, which allowed us to gather information and bring it back to benefit our campus.”