Atherton to receive upgrade this winter

Rendering courtesy of University Relations

The Market Place at Atherton Union will receive some gifts during winter break from dining services, including a fireplace, banquette seating and fresher food options.

The $500,000 renovation to Atherton has been in the works since 2008, said Stacey Puck, director of dining services, and it may be only one part of a two- or three-phase renovation said.

“[President Jim] Danko has said that he doesn’t like the dining options here,” Vice President for Student Affairs Levester Johnson said at a Nov. 9 Student Government Association meeting. “I’ve said that they’re not the best. I’ve heard students say they’re not the best. It’s time for a change.”

The first phase will be completely installed over winter break, Puck said.

Dining services plans to install new wood-style vinyl flooring, lay-in coffer ceilings, environmentally friendly, semi-recessed lighting fixtures, new bulkhead and wall paint and new millwork walls with stone veneer bases.

Puck also said that the department will install an artificial fireplace and banquette seats, which will provide a much different feel to the dining area.

“The current plan in the Market Place does not really encourage people to sit around and talk after they get done eating,” Johnson said. “No one wants to sit in there and talk for a long time.”

Taylor Meador, a junior representative for Alliance, said she was concerned about the issue of space with these new renovations at the SGA meeting, but Puck said that space was one of the renovation’s main focuses.

“We won’t be taking away any seats,” Puck said.

Atherton’s current seating capacity is 364, and the renovations may actually add some additional seating, Puck said.

Jill Petnuch, a freshman biology major, said the aesthetics of Atherton are not as big of a concern as the accessibility.

“I don’t really care what it looks like,” Petnuch said. “I just want it to be open later.”

New fresh and healthy food options are also part of the renovation, Courtney Tuell, director of public relations, said. Fresh food selections will include salad, deli and “fresh for you” options.

Puck has been conducting focus groups with students to hear what the student body has to say about their dining experiences, and she said that she encourages students to provide input, feedback and suggestions about menu options and hours of operation by emailing

Cynthia Roush, a freshman exploratory studies major, said she is looking forward to the healthier options.

“I want fresh fruit,” Roush said. “I feel like I’m lacking on my fruits and vegetables.”

Puck said dining services is assisting with the cost of the project.

Dining services has invested $1.9 million in advancements on campus since 1998, including the addition of Starbucks to the Butler Bookstore, the installation of the C-Store in the lower level of the Dawg House and the Zia Juice Bar in the Health and Recreation Complex.


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