Renovated Dining Hall Opens for New Academic Year

North Park University Dining Hall
North Park University's dining hall in Magnuson Campus Center now offers a variety of seating options and bright decor.

New Flex Dollars Program Also Available for Students, Faculty, Staff

CHICAGO (August 19, 2013) — North Park University students will step into a new dining experience on campus this fall. Over the summer, major renovations have transformed the campus dining hall, located on the second floor of Magnuson Campus Center.

When entering the facility, diners will now be greeted by a refurbished meal-service area with non-slip floors and upgraded service windows and equipment. According to food service director Joshua Davis, ARAMARK Food Services is working on new menus it will serve the University to reflect its new capacity while also keeping favorite student items. Available at every meal will be a variety of hot protein, vegetable, starch, and vegetarian options, along with a partially self-serve deli station, pizza, grill, salad bar, and made-to-order station. Nutrition fact cards will accompany menu items so individuals can easily identify options that fit their dietary requirements.

More extensive renovations were completed in the seating area of the dining hall. Along with traditional tables, diners can choose from restaurant-style booths, bar stools at higher counters, lounge chairs, and even a fireplace lounge at one end. Electrical outlets are accessible from nearly every seat, making it easier for students to plug in laptops or phones while eating. The south end of the room may be partitioned off for private events or meetings.

Throughout the facility, the walls have been repainted, ceilings have been dropped, new flooring installed, and windows replaced. New lighting allows for brightening and dimming in response to the external environment, and both motion sensors and automatic programming control lights. Together, these upgrades all contribute to a more energy-efficient room that is also welcoming and encourages a wide variety of community interactions.

“A vibrant dining experience is vital to create an environment where all members of the campus community are eager to gather around the same table,” said Elizabeth Snezek, dean of students, of the renovation project. “Dining services plays and important role in fostering a sense of community and encouraging conversation.”

ARAMARK Food Services, which manages the dining hall and provides all food services on North Park’s campus, is also rolling out a new Flex Dollars meal plan option this fall, allowing students, faculty, and staff to pay for purchases at the dining hall and Viking Café with their University ID card instead of carrying cash or using a bank debit or credit card. Flex Dollars accounts will be managed individually online through the ARAMARK website. Diners, or other authorized users they designate, can add funds to accounts at any time during the year, and Flex Dollars will carry over between semesters.

All students, both commuter and resident and regardless of whether they purchase a meal plan or not, can purchase Flex Dollars that will be tied to their student IDs. Faculty and staff can also enroll in the Flex Dollars program. The University hopes this new program will encourage all members of the community to take advantage of the excellent food service available in the dining hall and Viking Café, and also use that time to build relationships and experience a rich community life. “Students, both resident and commuter, faculty, and staff can meet at mealtimes in friendly and enriching conversation, and not have to worry about having cash or a meal plan,” Snezek said.

Flex Dollars are being rolled out this year in anticipation of increased options on North Park’s campus when the Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life opens in Fall 2014. At that time, Flex Dollars will be able to be used in the dining hall, Viking Café, and any additional food venues that are part of the ARAMARK campus food services. As part of the launch of the program, students on some meal plans will receive a complimentary bank of Flex Dollars on their accounts, and anyone who adds $200 or more to their Flex Dollars account by Sept. 10, 2013, will receive a bonus $20 in Flex Dollars.

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Next Steps

Check out photos of the newly renovated dining hall.

Learn more about dining at North Park University.