This is the first post from Chandler Thompson, a junior economics major from High Point. She’s one of four students who will be blogging for us this fall. Learn more about them here.
The Brickyard doesn’t look the same this year because there is a 4,000-square-foot rectangular structure positioned in front of the Atrium. This structure, also known as “The Brickyard Bubble,” will serve as a temporary seating area for the remainder of the school year while the Atrium undergoes renovations.
Currently, half of the Atrium is set up to temporarily serve food, and last week I went for lunch a couple times to check it out. Students can choose from a reduced Lil Dino’s menu, a wrap station and Chick-fil-A. But there are no waffle fries at Chick-fil-A!!! (They are only offering regular fries during the fall semester since the cooking area does not meet Chick-fil-A standards for waffle fries.) This is probably a good opportunity to keep off the “Freshman 15.” After picking what we want and going through the central check out stations, students have the option of eating outside on the Atrium patio, in the Bubble or on new tables under Harrelson.
Eating in the Bubble is an interesting experience. Luckily, the structure features heating and air conditioning, so I have found it to be a nice place to cool off during a lunch break. The high ceilings make everything more spacey than the old Atrium’s closed-in seating area, but it just doesn’t have the homey feel eating inside that the Atrium did. I’ve heard complaints about echos, but other than that it is a pleasant (temporary) eating environment.
Students have shown a little excitement about this new structure on campus because it is so unique. It’s not pretty but most are OK with it because “It is only for a year, right?” There is some apprehension due to the lost Brickyard space. I cannot imagine the school year without Shack-a-Thon, Agricultural Awareness Week and Earth Day taking over the Brickyard. I know those traditions will still happen but they will be seriously adjusted or moved to other locations.
I also have concerns the Brickyard will be extra crowded during countless other activities held throughout the year, like the Campus Farmers Market and the Homecoming Wear Red Get Fed events. The good thing is University Dining and the Student Organization Resource Center are working together and with student organizations to help them reserve the best space for their events. It’s going to be a learning experience for everyone but I feel like we are prepared to make adjustments.
I’m looking forward to January because that is when the new serving area is scheduled to open. Dining has announced the new food choices to include Asian and sushi cuisine, a custom wrap station, a custom salad station and “Brickyard Pizza and Pasta”. Chick-fil-A will stay, of course, and I predict students will rejoice at the return of waffle fries. We will eat our new food in the Bubble for one last semester while they finish renovating the seating half of the Atrium. Students understand that by making this sacrifice now, whether it is walking around the Bubble to get to D.H. Hill Library or enduring fewer food choices at the Atrium for a semester, it is worth it for the benefits we get when the construction is done.
(Photographs by Chandler Thompson)