Renovations for Hubbell Dining Hall began last April after months of planning and with the help of several focus groups that included students.
The changes to Hubbell included kitchen and serving station restorations and replacing equipment that was out of date, said Aaron Knutson, General Manager of Drake Dining Services.
Knutson added that the upgraded equipment allowed for “greater flexibility to change options and adapt to changing menus” as well as “improve the workspaces for our employees, so they can focus on preparing food and serving students, faculty and staff.”
Hubbell also got a revamped look that includes new furniture, touchless cashier stations and a mural connecting the north and south sides.
“We wanted to create a better flow, improve the serving areas, enhance vibrancy, replace out-dated and failing equipment and improve energy efficiency,” Knutson said.
Before the campus community could appreciate the new renovations to Hubbell, COVID-19 forced the dining staff to implement stricter safety measures to prevent spread of the contagious disease.
Before any shift, the staff must have their temperatures taken, wear a mask in compliance with campus policy, and go home if they present any symptoms. Self-serve stations were eliminated along with a kitchen and dining room wide break every 45 minutes in order to sanitize and disinfect surfaces and other high-touch areas.
Hubbell also recently introduced new reusable containers for meals that are to-go. Due to the pandemic, disposable containers are currently in short supply.
If a student wants their meal to-go, they have to make a $5 deposit. They will then receive a ticket to show to servers, who will then provide the green reusable containers. Students can either use their Flex Dollars, Bulldog Bucks, cash, debit or credit to pay for the deposit. In order to get the $5 deposit back, they must return the container and ask for a refund.
“It is a little frustrating that you have to be charged for the to-go boxes,” first-year Moe Lind said. “I also wasn’t prepared for it. I didn’t know about [the reusable containers] until I actually went to [Hubbell] so the process of getting your food to-go was a little confusing just because I wasn’t informed about it.”
Even with all of these new changes to Hubbell, some students have found the food to be lacking in comparison to last year.
“I think what [food] they do have is good, but I do wish there was a little more variety,” Lind said. “Such as more cultural variations in the food, more differentiation between each night.”
Sophomore Rachel DuBose agrees that there is less variety of food at Hubbell.
“I think some of the items could have more flavor,” DuBose said. Dubose said she would also like to bring back Quad but doesn’t “think they really can at this point.”
On Aug. 26, a petition was created on the website change.org asking to bring back Quad Creek Cafe, which was removed during the remodel.
According to the petition, “without Quad, Drake has restricted the availability of vegan/vegetarian, low carb and other options that meet the dietary needs of the Drake community.”
“The situation remains fluid, and the functionality of the operations will change when state and local guidelines allow for those opportunities to make additional improvements,” Knutson said in response to the petition. “Until then, it’s our top priority to keep our students safe.”