Wayland students start week in new cafeteria

September 20, 2012

PLAINVIEW — Wayland Baptist University students got their first look inside the McClung University Center this weekend when the administrators opened the cafeteria for service.

According to Vice President of Enrollment Management Dr. Claude Lusk, the university opened the cafeteria for students even as renovation work continues on the rest of the facility. In fact, he explained, there are minor things that still need to be completed in the cafeteria but the consensus within the administration was that the students had been inconvenienced enough and it was time to reward them for their patience.

“All along the order of priority was cafeteria first, (then) first floor, second floor and basement following that,” Lusk said.

Renovations, which began over the summer, forced the complete closure of the university center and all the offices and functions associated with the building were moved to different places on campus. The bookstore and student services were moved to McDonald Hall while food services were moved to the Laney Center. Lusk pointed out that Sodexo, Wayland’s food services contractor, has spent the first month of the semester cooking food in a makeshift kitchen and then transporting it to the Laney Center where tables were set up on the gymnasium floor for the students.

Lusk said that everyone associated with the university understood that there would be some inconveniences related to the renovation work. However, he continued, there comes a point where a sense of normalcy needs to return and he and others began to realize that time was approaching.

“We’ve got to finish this cafeteria,” he concluded.

With that thought in mind, Lusk said, all efforts were made over the past couple of weeks to get the cafeteria through the body of inspections that were required and to get the rest of the worksite moved to the point that people could safely move into and out of the UC. Thanks to the cooperation and determination of Wayland staff, construction contractors and representatives from the city, the goal was met, he said.

Lusk said the first meal in the facility was the football team’s pregame meal Saturday morning, which was followed by a chapel meeting, a fitting opening for the remodeled space.

“[Football players] weren’t the reason we remodeled the University Center, but they were a significant contributor to the momentum that allowed it to happen,” he said.

Lusk said work will continue on the rest of the building following the original priority list. The one thing that still is a bit up in the air is the time tables for the second floor and the basement. He explained that to bring part of the student services staff back from McDonald Hall while leaving the rest there would be inefficient for the staff and the students since much of the work done in those offices is tied together in some way.

“I believe you will next see the bookstore and the remainder of the first floor (completed),” he said, realizing that will extend the inconvenience on the staff.

From that perspective, though, Lusk said he couldn’t be more pleased or proud of his colleagues.

“I just can’t say enough about our people,” he said. “Our students have been patient (but) our students were going to mirror the attitude our staff had and I think our staff understood that. A lot of good character came through in this and that’s just the truth.”