Ailys Toledo/Contributing writer
Students and patrons will have to go about their summer days at the University without Fresh Foods. The dining location is receiving a top-to-bottom renovation, scheduled for fall 2013 completion.
Together, the University, Aramark and Fresh Foods Company recognized the desire for a more social gathering on campus.
“The more open and inviting atmosphere will encourage social interaction and foster collaboration between students and faculty,” said Felecia Townsend, director of business and services.
When Fresh Foods was first built in 2002, it was located at the end of the Graham Center, next to the Panther Dining and Orientation offices. In 2004, the entrance of the restaurant was remodeled and relocated during the renovations of GC into the Atrium.
Since the minor change in 2004, the restaurant is now undergoing a total interior and exterior makeover.
The process of the renewal is divided into three phases.
Phase One will expand Fresh Foods into Panther Dining’s and Orientation offices previous locations and will install new seating, including booths and a lounge area. New stations and equipment will produce menu items like gluten-free and vegan food options.
Townsend said Fresh Foods offers a personalized, innovative dining experience customized for the University community.
“I am celiac and finding places to eat that offer a good and healthy variety of gluten-free meals is hard, so I’m happy that such a well-known place is investing in the FIU community’s health,” said Vanessa Salcedo, senior architecture major.
Fresh Foods has added new items to its menu to cater to students and promote their health, while allowing them to dine on a budget.
“Various meal plans have been created to encourage the FIU community to eat the fresh, healthy dishes at Fresh Food, and to save at least 10 percent each time they dine,” said Townsend.
In the meantime, students are missing their Fresh Foods.
“I prefer going to Fresh Foods during my lunch hour because it’s healthy and filling,” said Dalvys Perez, senior library technical assistant of Green Library acquisitions. “But now that it is closed until the fall semester, I’ve had to explore other, less healthy options for lunch which I don’t like to do.”
The renovations have also affected schedules and routines in GC, specifically in regards to a mandatory evacuation held last Friday.
The building experienced a water shutdown which is necessary to complete the plumbing improvements as part of the Fresh Foods renovations.
“We request[ed] a mandatory evacuation to replace a leaky water shutoff valve, providing new lines to service the new food stations,” said Alberto Delgado, senior project manager. “We are not anticipating another shutdown.”