The heart of campus will be getting a face lift due to the new University of Central Florida agreement with Aramark.

An attachment on the Student Development and Enrollment Services website showcased some conceptualized union plans which include a second floor in the food court and new restaurants on campus.

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“A major renovation to the Student Union will expand restaurant and retail space, more than doubling the seating available for dining and studying and easing overcrowding,” the report said.

The food court itself will grow from 315 seats to about 750.

Other Aramark plans in place are a restaurant by the Recreation and Wellness Center and a 63 South renovation. No new dining halls will be opened.

The definite restaurants have not been chosen yet. The release said that Aramark and UCF will use student input in the future to see what restaurants will reside in the new food court.

“Under the agreement, Aramark will begin overseeing dining services in the Student Union during the next few years and will work closely with students to identify which restaurants – current or new – that they would like to see. At least two of the restaurants will be local businesses,” the document said.

The release lists the restaurant categories that were recommended by a focus group:
Asian: Panda Express
Bakery/Café: Einstein Bros. or Au Bon Pain
Burgers: Steak and Shake
Chicken: Pollo Tropical suggested for RWC restaurant
Pizza: Papa John’s
Mexican: Qdoba
Salad
Sandwiches: Which Wich or Firehouse Subs
Snacks
Coffee
Varied Menu/Sit-Down Restaurant: Chili’s
Convenience/Drinks: Tropical Smoothie or Smoothie King

The two local or alumni owned businesses have not been selected yet.

This project will be paid by Aramark, who will dish out an estimated $14 million for the expansion in exchange of its 10-year contract expansion with UCF’s dining services.

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“Overall, UCF’s estimated revenue from the 10-year contract extension with Aramark is $82 million, compared with $26 million for the most recent 10 years,” according to the report.

The expansion will open opportunities for student employment. Employees from current restaurants will be able to apply for work at the current restaurants as well.

A concern current business owners said they had was Aramark not employing students.

The Aramark proposal faced a lot of controversy up to and even after its approval. Not all students and alumni think the heart of campus needs to be owned by a corporation.

“Although UCF and Aramark claim to want student input in the future, it would have been nice to have student input beforehand. Although a Student Union expansion isn’t what we have a problem with, we have a problem with one company controlling what that Student Union will look like, what things will cost and who will have the ability to open a business there,” Student Action Labor Project member Ofelia Sanchez said.

A construction date has not been set yet and food prices will be comparable to local market rates, the report said. The conceptual design will also not destroy the natural area outside of the union.


Check back on KnightNews.com for updates on the Student Union construction.

Image credit: UCF/UCF Student Union