When University of Northern Colorado students return to campus later this month, they will soon be met with a much more diverse array of on-campus dining options.
But wait, don’t be afraid of the inevitable “New Student 15” weight gain this semester. Healthy food options are available on the new menus, some of which will be available to students from the first day of classes on August 22 through the fall.
In July, UNC and food service and facilities management company Sodexo finalized a 10-year agreement to oversee dining operations including franchises and food trucks. The agreement, with an option to extend to 20 years, includes a $17 million capital investment from Sodexo with the bulk of the investment coming in the first few years, according to UNC Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Gina Finley.
The agreement means Starbucks will return to campus for the first time since 2015. The café is in the process of opening in the Holmes Dining Hall where the ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 8 a.m. August 22.
Starbucks was previously available on campus for 10 years at the University Center. The new Starbucks will feature a mural by Denver artists Pedro Barrios and Jaime Molina illustrating UN leadership and local culture in Weld County.
Finlay said Sodexo is paying for the capital improvements as part of the agreement. The capital is intended for direct investment in food services and generally refers to project and construction costs.
Finley added that Sodexo and UNC share revenue, which could depend on how it is generated through meal plans, catering or franchises. While UNC incurs utility-related costs, such as bond debt, maintenance and insurance, Sodexo pays all operating costs.
“They will help with big capital projects that we couldn’t do on our own,” Finley said of the agreement.
None of UNC’s food service employees lost a job as a result of the agreement, Finley said. Exempt UNC employees went to Sodexo. All state-classified employees on UNC payroll will now be managed by Sodexo with the company paying the employees to the university.
Between UNC and Sodexo, Finley said as of early July, there were 31 employees classified on the university’s payroll, 45 full- and part-time employees at Sodexo and 185 students also working with Sodexo.
Evidence of the Capital Project’s work is emerging on campus – particularly in the University Center on 11th Avenue where construction is taking place in both indoor and outdoor spaces. The old dining hall in the basement of the building, known as UC, was destroyed in preparation for various retail operations.
- Bowl: Cereal bowls with veggies and protein to order.
- Crisol Latin Kitchen: Authentic, high-quality Latin cuisine.
- Empire State Pizza: Local New York-style pizza on 8th Street in Garden City.
Finley said those venues are expected to open in October.
Another food option would be Burger & Co. , also located at the University of California with bar food, open night theater and televisions. Burger & Co. is expected to open in November.
The lobby, visible from 11th Street and located near the UNC bear statue and to the south, is being renovated with retractable garage doors that lead onto a patio.
“Getting together around food is part of building community,” Finley said. “Having relationships is part of student success.”
Finley added that Hissho Sushi, Subway, and Einstein Bros. Bagels will remain at the center of the university to be managed and operated by Sodexo.
At Campus Commons, on the corner of 22nd Street and 11th Avenue and adjacent to the University of California, it will now house the Bears Simply to Go – the former Gourmet to Go site at Holmes Hall has been renamed and moved. It replaces Pie Cafe on Campus Commons. This restaurant will serve fresh meals, snacks and drinks. It is open as a retail option and to swipe a meal card.
It will be open in time for the first day of classes.
In Michener’s Library, officially known as Coffee Corner, will be the Bears Coffee Shop, serving high-quality local coffee and other hot and cold beverages.
Finley said updates are also underway for concessions during sporting events at Nottingham Field and the Colorado Bank Arena as part of the deal with Sodexo.
You will also come to campus, perhaps in September, two mobile food trucks or food carts serving hot and cold food.
Klawz Kruiser will have cold options such as ice cream, salad and sandwiches, and Klawz Krawler will serve grilled food.
Campus robot delivery – yes, robot delivery – from Sodexo remains a potential future component of the food deal, but it’s not imminent at Greeley’s campus. Another potential element of the agreement in the future is the renovation of Tobey-Kendal Dining on 9th Avenue.
Students will soon receive information on an app, allowing them to access menus and schedule pickup from mobile.
“It’s so much fun,” Finley said of the growing food options. “I’m excited to see the students’ reactions.”