by Catherine Arjet
assistant arts and life editor
A lot of rumors have been flying around campus this semester in regard to the Kava House, the Leggett Center, and the meal plan in general. These ideas range from the outlandish to the probable, but one thing is clear: things are changing. The truth is Millsaps is giving the College Center a major renovation. Kava will close down at the end of this semester, and that space will turn into a special events and conference room. Meanwhile, in November, the Leggett Center will be torn down and replaced with an open seating area reminiscent of a student union/food court with an Einstein Bros. Bagels.
The bagel shop (which will arrive at the start of 2015) will be open from approximately 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and will accept dining dollars but will not have a meal plan option, Matt Binion, Director of Student Services and Facilities explains.“There’s going to be a lot of natural light coming into the space. It’s going to look really cool,” says Binion, pointing to digital sketches of the future College Center. The new space is completely designed to be open and versatile. “We want it to be kind of like the college living room,” says Binion. The seating area will contain chairs and tables for dining as well as comfortable couches and benches for studying, meetings, or informal gatherings. All this furniture will be lightweight and highly moveable so that students can rearrange this space for events, or just sit somewhere else. “We might set it up one way and come in a week later and it’ll be completely different,” says Binion. This means that that the space could be a dance floor, theater, or something completely different to meet the needs organizations and individuals.
Aramark, Millsaps’ new food service company, is funding this whole project. In addition to redesigning the cafeteria earlier in the year, part of Aramark’s bid included renovating the space and putting in an outside restaurant. The planning committee decided on Einstein’s as opposed to other top contenders such as Starbucks or Subway because they wanted a restaurant to provide both good coffee and food, and felt that Einstein’s could meet both needs. “That’s why we settled on Einstein’s,” explains Binion, “It’s a premium coffee brand. (…) No, it’s not Starbucks, but it’s somewhere in the middle”
How’s this sitting with students? “I mean, I think that’s great and everything, but I wish we would have meal plan swipes there,” say sophomore Savannah Sykes. “It’s ridiculous, we’re limited to the Caf’, and the Caf’ is jam packed 100 percent of the time.” Sykes says that while she’s excited for the new changes, she would prefer the administration to instead expand the seating inside the actual Caf,’ (which, as anyone who’s ever tried to get a table between noon and 1 p.m. on a weekday knows, is severely lacking), expand meal plan options to places besides the Caf’ and the two-hour window at Reuben’s, or return funnel cake fries and coffee to Reuben’s.
Considering that many students are still looking for more positive meal plan changes on campus, hopefully this one will be well met by the student body.