Crimson Cafe opens after ribbon cutting ceremony

Following the opening of the academic year, President Michael Driscoll and Dave Vandenberg, Aramark Higher Education East Region Regional vice president, opened Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s newest dining facility during a ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 22.

Crimson Café, located next to the Stabley Library and Fisher Auditorium, is the first phase of IUP Dining Innovations, a $37-million dining master plan. This plan consists of constructing three new dining facilities and was approved by the IUP Council of Trustees December 2011.

Driscoll acknowledged the plans for extensive construction on campus during his opening of the 2014-2015 academic year speech.

“Remember, mud is good,” Driscoll said.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, members of the IUP community were invited inside and given free samples from Crimson Café’s food stations. Crimson Café includes Starbucks, the Crimson Bistro, Burger Studio and the Fireplace, as well as a selection of to-go items that includes soups, salads, wraps and hot meals.

Exhibited on a poster in Crimson Café’s front lobby, IUP Dining Innovations plans for phase II include the $12.1-million renovation of Folger Dining Hall.

Construction will take place this academic year, with completion projected for fall 2015. The revamped Folger will now be in an “all you care to eat” format as opposed to its former food-court style and will replace Foster Dining Hall.

According to the building’s architects and planners, Foster Dining Hall required such extreme renovations that it would not be cost effective to continue serving the IUP community there.

The demolition of Foster is scheduled for 2016, tentatively. It has not yet been determined how the plot the dining hall currently resides on will be used after demolition.

The final part of the plan, phase III, is to be called North Dining Commons. This facility is in the works to be completed by fall 2017. The North Dining Commons’ anticipated location is adjacent to Wallwork Hall, where Keith Hall currently sits. It will hold 450 seats and will follow the same format as the new Folger in the sense of its buffet style of serving.

Before construction can commence for the final dining facility, Keith Hall must be demolished and the new humanities building completed. The new humanities building will be located between Clark and Sutton halls and is aimed for completion by January 2016.   IUP Dining Innovations is planned by Pittsburgh’s IKM Architects and New York firm Ricca Newmark Dining Consultants. The construction management consultant was Alexander Building Construction, of Harrisburg. The construction and completion of these plans are going to rely on dining revenues.

The dining master plan was developed after a survey conducted by Pittsburgh’s Desmone & Associates Architects in collaboration with Envision Strategies, of Colorado, showed that students felt there was a need for new dining venues with a greater menu variety, a need for dining venues to be more conveniently located and a high demand for facilities with more intimate dining settings. The survey proved that on-campus meal plan participation grew 15 percent to 7,000 students.