Dining facility construction faces delays


A rendering of Northern Lights Dining demonstrates the look and features of the new dining facility, projected to open by Sept. 17. Formerly “The Marketplace,” the construction and opening of the new dining center has faced multiple setbacks due to delayed delivery of materials and equipment. Photo courtesy of NMU Dining

Jackie Jahfetson

After a delay in its construction, the new Northern Lights Dining facility has made accommodations to operate with a buffet-style dining, and is now slated for completion by Sept. 17.

The “extensive upgrade” to the Northern Lights Dining facility is almost completed except for the servery and exterior building facade, Associate Vice President of engineering and planning/
facilities Kathy Richards said in an email.

The main issue concerning this project was the inability for the first company, who was hired to manufacture the countertops, to meet the installation deadline because of a huge workload, Richards said. After realizing this issue, another company was hired to help finish the project,
Richards said.

“Dining facility renovations are complicated projects due to all of the kitchen equipment involved, which requires much coordination for its purchase and installation between several trades,” Richards said. “Completing such a complicated project in a short time requires everything to fall in place well.”

Overseeing the design and construction of the Northern Lights Dining is the engineering and planning department who’ve also made renovations to the dish room and Cat Trax, Richards stated. And as the department leader, Richards said she’s overall responsible for the project.

Setbacks included not receiving building materials and kitchen equipment to meet the original timeline of the project, Richards continued.

Though the grand opening has been delayed, students will benefit from the facility upgrades and can see it up and running soon, she said.

“The facility upgrades have created a modern, vibrant dining environment with the variety of new food stations that provide delicious options to meet students’ dietary needs and preferences,” she said. “All involved in the Northern Lights Dining project hope that the students
enjoy the updated facility and that it enhances their
experiences at NMU.”