For years, Oklahoma Christian University students have been eager for construction on the rumored new cafeteria to begin. The wait for construction came to an end in the fall of 2018, with university officials making an effort to have it completed by the next school year.
The project originally came with an estimated completion time of spring 2020, a time frame some students said they were skeptical to believe. However, Chief Analytics and Planning Officer of Oklahoma Christian Bill Goad said the worrying is unwarranted.
“The project is moving along as anticipated,” Goad said. “Early on, in the beginning of construction, we had about 17 weather delays. But the contractors are making that up some, so we still expect that the cafeteria to be available for student use by January of next school year.”
Goad has also heard student concerns over the previous rumored construction dates, and although January is expected to be the month in which the construction will be finalized, he said a number of factors can go into the completion time.
“All kinds of weather-related things could still happen to delay the project, as well as other things,” Goad said. “But there are real things happening now, and once the exterior shell is enclosed, there are fewer things that can delay it.”
In addition to time, the size of the cafeteria is a point of concern. From the outside, there seems to be a major size difference in the old cafeteria and the shell of the newer model, but it is something Goad said is done with purpose.
“As far as the eating area, it is slightly smaller than the current eating area but still should serve the student population,” Goad said. “One of the issues is that when there are special groups using parts of the cafeteria, they close sections off, leaving even less room for student diners.”
Goad also said the things done with the cafeteria stylistically are meant to help students mentally and physically. The cafeteria will feature many windows, so students are able to see outside and experience the weather as it happens. Goad said during warmer, sunnier days, these windows should make the cafeteria a warmer, more comfortable space.
His claim is supported by an article written by healthline.com, which explains the natural benefits of sunlight.
“Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain,” the article said. “Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.”
With construction continuing throughout the summer, Goad said he has some words of encouragement for those excited for things to come.
“We are excited to be able to provide a better dining experience for students in the new caf,” Goad said. “It is part of an overall emphasis on improving food services on this campus. When you live and eat on this campus most of the time, we want to really improve that experience for you.”
For deeper inquiries on the design and structure of the cafeteria, students can learn more here.