Northern Michigan University’s Marketplace will undergo a $5.8 million renovation this summer.
Director of Facilities and Planning Manager Jim Thams explained that the dining hall, which hasn’t been updated in 17 years, will be made more student friendly.
“The connection to The Woods will give students great access to the existing dining facility. There’s going to be a new C store (Campus convenience store) that will be located closer to the folks who live in The Woods and the Quad ll complex,” Thams said. “The servery will all be redone, not just new space, but new menu options. The dining area itself will be expanded and there will be more seating available to students.”
Diverse food options will be incorporated into the updated space. Each food station will include specialty stations, such as a features of the day, international foods, a made to order station and a new pizza station. In addition to the new sections, there will be a closed off space to accommodate students with food allergies. Thams said he visited other universities to see how their dining halls were constructed.
“One thing that will be unique to this project that I don’t think students have seen before, at least not on our campus, is in the servery area itself, there will be seating and areas where there are high-top tables,” Thams added. “[It] seems to be a unique thing. You sit in that area, you’re watching a lot of activity, it just kind of creates a unique environment.”
This new renovation aims to build off of the existing structure and what is currently available for students, Thams said.
“I think we’re going to have a beautiful facility. When it’s all said and done, not only will we update the interior of the building, but there will be a number of exterior improvements to the building,” he added.
The name of the facility will also see a change. After collecting data, consulting with executive counsel and student survey, the new dining facility will be called Northern Lights Dining.
Associate Director of Dining Services Paul Schoonveld said he is looking forward to the opportunity to change the current form of food service at NMU.
“From a dining perspective what we’re most excited about is an enhanced ability to serve amazing food,” Schoonveld said.