University of Northern Colorado stirs up new dining options for students this year

University of Northern Colorado stirs up new dining options for students this year

What to eat?

When University of Northern Colorado students return to campus later this month, they will soon be greeted with more diverse dining options on campus.

But wait, don’t fear the inevitable “freshman 15” weight gain this semester. The new menus feature healthy food options, some of which will be available to students starting on the first day of classes Aug. 22 through the fall.

In July, UNC and food service and facilities management company Sodexo entered into a 10-year agreement to oversee food operations, including concessions and food trucks. According to Jenna Finley, UNC’s vice president for Student Affairs, the agreement includes a $17 million capital investment from Sodexo, with the option to extend for up to 20 years, with most of the investment coming in the first few years.

The deal means Starbucks will return to campus for the first time since 2015. The coffee shop is in the process of opening in Holmes Dining Hall, where a ribbon cutting is scheduled for Aug. 22 at 8 a.m.

Starbucks previously had a campus presence in the University Center for 10 years. The new Starbucks will feature murals by Denver artists Pedro Barrios and Jaime Molina depicting UNC and local culture in Weld County.

Sodexo is paying for capital improvements as part of the deal, Finley said. Capital refers to direct investment in food services and generally refers to project and construction costs.

Sodexo and UNC split the revenue, which could depend on how it’s earned from meal plans, catering or concessions, Finley added. While UNC bears facility-related costs such as bond debt, maintenance and insurance, Sodexo covers all operating costs.

“They’re going to help with major capital projects that we can’t do on our own,” Finley said of the deal.

No UNC food service employees lost their jobs as a result of the settlement, Finley said. UNC’s exempt employees transferred to Sodexo. All state-classified employees on the UNC payroll will now be managed by Sodexo, and the company will return the workers’ wages to the university.

As of early July between Finley, UNC and Sodexo, the university has 31 classified employees, 45 full- and part-time Sodexo employees and 185 students with Sodexo on its payroll.

Evidence of the extensive design work is visible on campus – especially in the University Center overlooking 11th Avenue, where indoor and outdoor spaces are under construction. The former food court on the ground floor of the building, known as UC, has been gutted in preparation for various retail operations.

  • Bowlful: made-to-order grain bowls with vegetables and protein.
  • Crisol Latin Cuisine: authentic and high quality Latin cuisine.
  • Empire State Pizza: native New York style Pizza based on 8th Avenue in Garden City.

Those locations are expected to open in October, Finley said.

Another dining option, Burger & Co., will also be at UC with bar food, open mic nights and a stage for TVs. Burger & Co is expected to open in November.

GREELEY, CO – AUGUST 05: The University Center under renovation is seen on August 5, 2022 at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. UNC has contracted with Sodexo, a dining management company, to improve and implement dining operations for the future. year (Alex McIntyre / Staff Photographer)

The atrium, visible from 11th Avenue and located around the corner and south of the UNC bear statue, is being renovated with folding garage doors that lead to the patio.

“Coming together around food is part of building a community,” Finley said. “And having connections is part of student success.”

Hissho Sushi, Subway and Einstein Bros. Bagels will remain in the University Center and be operated by Sodexo, Finley added.

in the Campus Commons, at the corner of 22nd Street and 11th Avenue and adjacent to UC, will now house Simply to Go Bears — previously renamed and relocated Gourmet to Go in Holmes Hall. It replaces the Pie Cafe in the Campus Commons. This eatery will have fresh food, snacks and drinks. It is open as a retail option and swipe food card.

It will be open in time for the first day of classes.

Officially known as the Coffee Corner, the Michener Library will feature Bears Coffee Shop, serving local, premium coffee and other hot and cold beverages.

Finley said there are also upgrades to concessions during athletic events at Nottingham Field and Bank of Colorado Arena as part of the deal with Sodexo.

Also coming to campus, possibly in September, are two mobile food trucks, or food carts serving hot and cold meals.

Klawz Kruiser will have cold options like ice cream, salads and sandwiches, and Klawz Krawler will offer grilled food.

On-campus robot delivery — yes, robot delivery — remains a potential future component of a food deal from Sodexo, but it’s not inevitable on the Greeley campus. Another possible future component of the deal could see the renovation of the Tobey-Kendal Diner on 9th Avenue.

Students will soon learn about an app that allows them to access menus and schedule mobile pickup.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Finley said of the growing food options. “I’m excited to see the students’ reactions.”

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