Chartwells begins renovation of residence hall to include food options

Chartwells University Dining Services is — in the words of famous television chef Emeril Lagasse — “kicking it up a notch” at Tennessee Tech University.

The company, which took over TTU’s dining services contract last July, recently began renovating a university residence hall to include a Sbarro’s pizzeria and an Outtakes convenience store to sell pre-made sandwiches, salads and other foods.

The project got underway Monday, March 1, in what was previously the lobby area of McCord Hall, located in the Capital Quad residence hall complex at the southwestern corner of campus.

“We selected the location because that residence hall complex is farthest away from the university’s existing dining options,” said John Ruppert, Chartwells resident district manager at TTU.

To help students currently living in the hall adjust to the construction, all work is being restricted to the hours between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and all major demolition is scheduled to take place during TTU’s Spring Break next week.

The project is expected to be completed by May and will cost an estimated $500,000.

It is one of approximately $3.5 million worth in dining service improvement projects Chartwells has guaranteed the university in its five-year contract. Others include:

• A $1.1 million renovation of the main resident dining facility and faculty dining room in the Roaden University Center, which could begin as early as April.

“The resident dining facility is our next priority because it generally services the greatest volume of customers on campus,” Ruppert said. “We want renovations on it to be completed when students come back to campus for the fall semester in August.”

Chartwells’ plan is to replace the facility’s cafeteria-style arrangement with a series of different food bars or stations, each of which would offer a specific style of cuisine, such as Mexican or Italian.

• A $1.1 million renovation of Swoops Grill that would expand the current Sbarro’s pizzeria and would replace Taco Bell and Blimpie’s Subs with a Wendy’s and Chartwells’ signature Mondo Subs, featuring a warmed and seasoned potato chip of the day.

“We plan to phase in the changes to both the resident dining facility and Swoops Grill in stages in order to minimize the need to shut down the entire operation of either,” Ruppert said.

• Finishing touches will include renovations totaling $50,000 each to the Volpe Library, where a coffee shop is planned, and Fitness Center, where a juice bar will be added.

• And work is just being completed on a $200,000 renovation to update the university’s Executive Dining Suite in the Roaden University Center.

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