Residential College renovations include dining hall redesign. Photo by George Beblo.
MAXWELL COLLINS | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Phase Two of renovations at first-year housing Residential College (ResCo) is nearly complete as students flood back into Butler’s campus for the start of the fall semester.
The majority of construction was completed over the summer, so students could be welcomed home to a modern design influenced by other on-campus residences Fairview House and Irvington House. Some renovated areas include: redesigned dining space and lobby areas, an enclosed mezzanine with new study spaces and multiple lounge spaces added to each wing. This project was tested back in 2019, with 18 updated suites, then continued in the summer of 2022, and is now coming to a close.
There are only a few tasks to be finished over the coming semester, odds and ends like replacing a couple window panes and waiting for furniture that is in transit, but the main projects left to complete are the east and west courtyards. John Lacheta, Butler’s manager of facilities and operations, predicts that they will only remain incomplete for a few more weeks. The main delay for these outside spaces has been the extreme heat Indianapolis continues to experience. As the weather cools down, the greenery will be planted and ready for students in a short while.
As many students have likely already noticed, ResCo dining is currently unavailable. This is due largely to a delay in shipment times for the back-of-house kitchen items. The kitchen is expected to be completed by January 2024, and the dining option will return with exciting new bells and whistles. The upgraded dining area hopes to help fulfill the ever growing want for to-go options on campus and provide even more varietied dining options, without losing their staples.
Lacheta has been the public face for the ResCo renovations since 2019. Last year, Lacheta told The Butler Collegian that some construction presence was to be expected, but limited to the kitchen area. Lacheta restated this for the fall semester.
“We hope that the [construction presence] will be minimal or non-existent, but I also know that that is a near impossible task,” Lacheta said.
While most construction was finished over the summer, there are a few hints around ResCo that renovations are still under way. In an effort to accommodate students coming back to campus, the construction workers have made some changes to their work schedule. Rather than working on the east and west courtyards before classes start, construction workers will not be starting until 8 or 9 in the morning.
“We have adapted our work hours because students live in the building again,” Lacheta said. “Construction workers like to start at 6 in the morning; our students don’t.”
ResCo has been a staple on Butler’s campus since its construction in 1988, but as decades pass, trends change, and Fairview and Irvington have become more desirable to most students.
Madison Burks, first-year dance and psychology double major, moved in early for pre-orientation, giving her a sneak peak at the progress before other students arrived.
“From the outside, [it doesn’t look modern], no, but from the inside, absolutely, ” Burks said. “Especially with all of the new glass and light fixtures.”
For some students, it may have come as a surprise to see ResCo under construction when they arrived for their scheduled move in.
“[The construction workers] were even working on the front door, and I’m like, ‘How is the door not done?’” Burks said. “But, I know that everything works at its own pace, and renovating a residence hall is definitely a lot of work.”
Kaylin Zocharski, community director for ResCo, explained that the building was “just outdated.”
“There was honestly a little bit of charm that ResCo had its roots, and that’s not all gone,” Zocharski said. “The foundation of the building is all the same. It just needed to be modernized a little bit to keep up with all these new residence halls that we’ve put in over the last decade. It was just to give it a little bit of a facelift, so to speak.”
Just because ResCo dining is not offering full-service currently does not mean that ResCo is off the dining options list completely. Similar to Butler Brew in Dugan Hall, ResCo is currently offering a grab-and-go flex meal option. Students can pick from pre-packaged salads, burgers and pastas, take their drink and a side, then pay using a flex meal.
If students would rather stick to the classics, Atherton Union and Plum Market are still running on usual hours. The Uprooted food truck has started operating Monday through Friday, weather permitting.
Butler students had come to a consensus that Residential College was ready for something new, and BU staff heard the complaints. The construction presence should be minimal, and many students are looking forward to the return of a staple dining option.