Student Commons gets $2.2 million facelift

Students line up in front of the new Taco Bell inside the Student Commons. The eatery replaced Zoca.
Students line up in front of the new Taco Bell inside the Student Commons. The eatery replaced Zoca.

Sam Haywood
Contributing Writer

Renovations to the University Student Commons are complete following $2.2 million worth of construction over the summer.

The build-out added a full-service Taco Bell, which will accept swipes on Fridays from noon to close and Saturday from 11 a.m. to close, and the P.O.D. Market, which will accept dining dollars during store hours.

The renovations are the result of a survey given to students during fall 2012, which asked what restaurants they hoped to see in the Commons. Student David Kim said he is excited for the changes in VCU’s dining options.

“I think the new options on campus will benefit students with a meal plan since they have added a lot of places for dining,” Kim said.

In spite of health concerns from some students, Taco Bell was the most popular restaurant students wanted in the Commons. Kim said he believes the majority of VCU’s community will enjoy the new restaurant.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people about it and none of them seemed disappointed with the decision to bring (Taco Bell) into the Commons,” he said.

Taco Bell and P.O.D. Market round out the dining options in the Commons, which also houses Chick-fil-A, Nao and Zen, Pizza Hut Express and Subway. Students hungry for Burger King will have to wait. Structural issues delayed plans for the burger joint, Tamara Highsmith told The CT in June.

Students, faculty and staff and visitors pass through the Student Commons on a daily basis not only for the food, but also because of its convenient location on VCU’s Monroe Park campus, said director Jeremy Schenk.

“From our perspective one of the great things about the Commons is that it is a well-trafficked building,” Schenk said. He added that 1.7 million people visited the facility last year.

In addition to updated dining services, the University Career Center in the Commons also underwent a renovation. The facelift to the UCC marks the beginning of a new layout for the facility, which will include a redesigned information desk and new furniture, Schenk said.

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