ETSU unveils new dining hall, gives tour of ongoing Culp renovations

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Aug 28, 2019 at 10:45 PM

Students at East Tennessee State University have a new place to eat and convene after renovations to the campus dining hall sent them elsewhere last year.

On Wednesday, ETSU officials invited reporters to tour the newly renovated D.P. Culp University Center dining hall and take a look at other ongoing renovations to the campus center.

The new campus dining hall was fully operational during the tour after opening up for students last week — marking a major milestone for the $45.5 million project.

ETSU President Brian Noland said updates to the dining hall and center will modernize the central hub of the campus and increase its capacity for a growing student body by adding an extra 28,000 square feet to the building. About six years ago, Noland said enhanced dining was one of the main things on student leaders’ minds when it came to discussions about campus renovations.

“This was a wonderful building in its time, but it was a building that was built for another time, and thanks to the leadership of our facilities team and thanks to the leadership of our colleagues at BurWil (Construction Company), we’ve transformed this space,” Noland said. 

“And in a few short months, you’ll have the opportunity to sit downstairs where we are transforming (the rest of the) building.”

According to Kelvin Tarukwasha, general manager for Sodexo dining services, “everything is new” in the new dining space that’s now able to accommodate about 3,300 students. The old dining space had half that capacity. 

In addition to an expanded menu and all-day breakfast, features include a bakery and a new pizza oven. 

“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s everything that a kitchen needs.”

Elsewhere in the center, renovations to the campus post office have also been completed.

Project Manager Kevin Varney said the rest of the Culp renovations — which will include new office spaces, rooms for student organizations and more — are still on schedule to be completed by January 2020, with the exception of some finishing touches to areas including outdoor spaces for students. Those finishing touches should be completed by the following summer. 

For more information on the ETSU dining hall and other ongoing Culp renovations, visit www.etsu.edu.

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