Plaza to receive second story

Increased housing on campus created the need to begin renovations earlier than planned.
Plaza 900 Dining Hall renovations will add an additional 250 seats and change the entrance. Construction is projected to be complete by July 2014.

Plaza 900 is undergoing renovations that will be completed by the fall 2014 semester.

This project is part of a decade-long renovation effort by Campus Dining Services. The construction began in September, Campus Dining Services spokesman Michael Wuest said.

“You’re going to see an additional 250 seats and the entrance will be slightly different,” Wuest said. “Overall, it’s just a little bit bigger of a facility.”

This renovation was originally scheduled to happen within the next few years, but was moved up because additional students will rely on the facility for meals in the near future. In 2015, 331 beds will be added south of Virginia Avenue South Housing, which is a short walk from Plaza 900.

The Virginia Avenue South Housing plan was approved by the UM Board of Curators to the Department of Residential Life in June 2012.

“Basically, it came about when the campus was deciding if we needed to expand,” Wuest said. “With the expansion of Virginia South housing, we thought this was a good time to up that time frame just slightly. We want to make sure we can handle the additional students that will be living over here. This should make service a little bit smoother.”

Along with the additional seating and changed entrance, there will an expanded version of Emporium Café and more lines for food, according to the Campus Dining Services blog.

“At least for the On Stage (food lines), it might help with shorter lines,” said Josh Drage, a worker at Plaza 900.

Some of the upgrades as a result of this project will not be obvious to the average student, Wuest said.

“There will be more storage space for the kitchen,” he said. “The receiving dock in back will change, and there will be office updates.”

More staff will be needed in order to manage these upgrades to the facility, Wuest said.

“We’re going to have additional students and guests so obviously there is a need for additional staff,” he said. “Plaza is probably our largest overall facility.”

The facility’s location near several residence halls makes it easily accessible for a majority of students living on campus.

“Plaza 900 is my favorite (dining hall that I have been to),” freshman May Eliezer said. “It’s just less claustrophobic.”

Wuest said Campus Dining Services remains hopeful that the ongoing construction throughout this academic year will not affect students eating at the facility. Most of the equipment needed will be hidden away to ensure there are no problems.

“The main walkway through will not be affected,” Wuest said. “(But, some of that is) still to be determined.”

Construction for Plaza 900 is scheduled for completion by July 2014.

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