By Brooke Greene / Staff writer

Students at Hutchinson Community College have endured a school year’s worth of construction and limited parking as everyone awaits the arrival of the new cafeteria inside Parker Student Union.

While the result is expected to be worth the wait, the construction continues, which has taken away a few rows of valuable prime parking spaces.

With high hopes to catch a spot back in that first row of parking in front of Lockman Hall and ambition to be in and out of the lunch line, this could be a positive occurrence for everyone.

Julie Blanton, HutchCC Vice President of Finance and Operations, manages to shed some light on where the progress of the union lies.

“The college’s dining hall has not had a major renovation since it was built in the 1960’s. Students were still lining up in a single file line to be served, and the hot-meal offerings were limited due to size and service constraints,” Blanton said. “The new facility will allow for ‘scramble style’ serving, where patrons will be able to choose from a number of hot-food service stations during each meal time.

“Students will also have access to cold-food stations like cereal and milk, salad, and deli fixings all throughout the day. The new facility will have an updated, upscale decor, and will include a convenience store style area where all items can be purchased individually and be eaten on the go.”

The planning for the renovations took a year to complete, with an additional year tacked on for the construction, and all was made possible with a budget of $5.5 million. The 12,000-square-foot basement renovation also includes a new eSports room, three meeting rooms, and a student recreation area.

As one can tell, HutchCC is about to unveil quite the upgrade.

The inconveniences reign strong to those who relied on the cafeteria or the space provided in the union before the renovations began. Students such as Benjamin Partridge, a freshman from England, have expressed how difficult and annoying it can be as a dorm student to have to go to the Sports Arena to get lunch almost every day.

“I believe the amount of parking is the correct amount, I always see spots,” Partidge said. I go to the Sports Arena for lunch, even though it’s a little out of the way, but it’s fine as long as it’s temporary. I am excited to see the new student union, as it’s closer and the cafeteria will have more options.”

This renovation was expected to take about a year, and the wait is nearly over. The construction began in the fall semester of 2019, and is expected to be complete by Oct. 1.

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