Hibernation Over

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Hibernation Over

MARY BOVE/THE HIGHLANDER

MARY BOVE/THE HIGHLANDER

MARY BOVE/THE HIGHLANDER

Final touches are added to the newly remodeled Cougar's Den before the small opening on January 21.

Ellen Hoffman, Print Editor

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As sophomore Tamara Bradley walked into the Cougar’s Den for the start of the spring semester, she was welcomed by a new atmosphere.  She first took notice of the freshly painted walls and new flat screen televisions before entering the renovated food service area.  After oohing and ahhing over the shelves stocked with almost every candy imaginable, she scanned the new menus for something to eat.  She decided on the Chicken Ranchero wrap and sat down, eagerly awaiting her meal.

“I think the renovations will attract more people,” Bradley said.  “I like the fact that things already seem to be running smoothly and I think the new Den will cater to more people’s appetites.”

The Cougar’s Den closed December 12, 2011 so workers could begin the renovations.  In addition to a brick oven, new fryers and a bigger grill were put in place.  There is also a new deli station where students can create their own sandwich for just $5.  A larger working area allows more employees—and more were hired to ensure a smooth dining experience.

“The renovations started because the last time we did a renovation in the Cougar’s Den was probably 12 years ago,” Bruce Deeble, Director of Food Service said.  “It just out grew itself and we couldn’t keep up with the volume.”

Deeble thinks these renovations will enhance service.  “Service and the speed of service should be much better just because of all the new equipment.  We should be able to get things done a lot faster and we’re excited about it.  I think it’s going to be a popular destination.”

The Cougar’s Den opened its doors for a small opening Jan. 21, but the grand opening is scheduled for Feb. 7.  Employees say they will work out any kinks. Activities are also planned to celebrate the final renovation.  “We’re going to have a band through Student Activities and we’re going to have some giveaways and specials,” Deeble said. “Kind of a big blow out in here.”

This semester also brings the start of work for the new retail manager, Mike Raub.  After working in different schools he is pleased to serve with the employees of the Cougar’s Den.  “It’s exciting that it’s new, bigger, faster and fresher,” he said.

A convenience store is another new addition.  Students can use points or cash to purchase snack options like chips and candy as well as other supplies for r dorm rooms like laundry detergent and shampoo. Two new flat screen televisions and a new stereo system were installed throughout the dining area.  The convenience store will be open according to Cougar’s Den hours.

“I think it makes it more convenient for students without cars on campus,” sophomore Jon Bodack said.  “It’s just easier for everyone in case they run out of anything and can’t get off campus.  There is definitely more of a variety and a lot more healthier options.”

With changes being put into place, Raub wants to make sure people know what is happening on a daily basis.  He is working through the Metz Dining Facebook page to interact more with students and enhance their dining options.  Now, daily menus are posted so students are more informed.  “We want to make you happier to come here,” Raub said.

The majority of students are excited and happy with the new look and feel of the Den but they also have some concerns.  First year Ben Torres is thrilled with the renovations that were completed so far but also thinks there are some things that need to be tweaked before the grand opening.  “I think they definitely need a mic system put in because I can never hear when they call my name,” he said. “Overall it’s way better. The convenient section is awesome. I think it’s all really good.”

There are some things that are already planned to change over the course of the spring semester.  New tables are scheduled to arrive 10 days after the grand opening due to back order, and over the summer a new lighting system is scheduled for installation.

Director of Student Activities Darcy Brodmerkel is excited about the changes and optimistic about how the service and speed of production will change.  “The service should be much better and I’m pretty confident in that,” she said.  “It’s been a work in progress and we are very thankful to Metz Corp. for getting it done for us.”

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