2019 has been a year for change across the UCO campus. President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar began her journey as the twenty-first president of the University of Central Oklahoma and promised that she was “committed to joining UCO in investing in the future.” As part of making sure each student has a great experience on campus, campus departments and contractors have been hard at work getting the brand-new dining hall ready for its spring 2020 opening.
Located within Bausher Place, Ayers Kitchen aims to provide students with an added variety of meal options that are healthier and fresher than ever before. The plethora of action stations will give the students a chance to pick the cuisine of their choice, made right in front of them. Stations include homestyle, tex-mex, pizza and pasta, smokehouse bbq, the grill, salad bar, soup bar, deli bar, and a breakfast bar. A made-fresh bakery will feature breads and desserts, and the gluten-friendly station is available for students with dietary sensitivities.
Ayers Kitchen is bigger and better than any dining hall UCO has seen and brings a new sense of community to the campus, with a seating area large enough to seat nearly 500 people. A dining and meeting room is located on the first floor’s west side, and a potential new retail location was accounted for in the design of the first floor. There is even an area to venture outside during nice weather and enjoy a meal in the sunshine!
At 50,000-square-feet, the two-story Bausher Place will also be the home to several departments from across campus. For students, the offices for Housing & Residential Engagement, Campus Dining Services, and Transportation & Parking Services will be relocating to the second floor. Operations are not expected to be impacted by the change in location, and students can still visit the front desk with questions or when needing assistance.
After polling students across campus about their feelings on the new dining hall, the overwhelming answer was anticipation for the new facility. Students said they were eager to have more varieties for their food and mentioned that the new location was more convenient for residents of The Suites and The Commons. As students prepare for the new year, excitement is growing for the expected opening in January.