Construction on the “Fresh Food Company” dining facility planned to be built behind Cresswell has been delayed due to cost quotes received from several general contractors that were higher than the officials at Mississippi State University anticipated.
Bill Broyles, assistant vice president of Student Affairs and manager of the project, said officials began to work with the architects to revise the plans in order to lower the overall cost of the facility.
“We received cost quotes from several general contractors earlier this year. Unfortunately, the quotes were higher than we had anticipated, and we did not have a sufficient budget to cover these higher costs,” Broyles said. “We are in final stages now in this redesign and hope to have it back out for bids before the end of the fall semester.”
The facility will feature 450 seats inside with about 49 additional seats on an outdoor terrace. The design also calls for a student lounge on the east end of the facility that would have extended hours and would provide an option similar to the Colvard Student Union for students to congregate. The new construction will include additional tennis courts to replace the ones taken out for the cafeteria.
“Another part of this overall project is the building of six new state-of-the-art tennis courts at the Rec-Plex on Stone Boulevard. These new courts should be complete and available for use by the end of this month,” Broyles said.
Karlee Wakeley, senior communication major, said it is crucial for MSU to continue making innovations to the campus structure. She said as incoming classes are expected to grow each year, dining services should be prepared to feed everyone in a timely and stress-free environment.
“I have had my taste of the Perry and the union and various other on-campus dining locations. It’s just always so packed, especially during lunch hour. It gets overwhelming when you just want a break from class,” Wakeley said.
In the past few years dining services has added Panda Express, Subway and Pizza Hut Express to on-campus dining options.
“These very popular dining options and the new Fresh Food Company are examples of the continual improvement in dining options that we are committed to bring to campus,” Broyles said.
Yonee Jefferson, sophomore interdisciplinary studies major who has a commuter meal plan, said she does not visit Perry cafeteria that often.
“I visit sometimes or if I want to have lunch with my freshman friend. I avoid the lines outside Perry because they’re overwhelming,” she said.
In response to the long lines outside Perry Cafeteria during lunch hours, Broyles said he commends the cafeteria workers for the job they do.
“As long as I have been at Mississippi State, there has always been a big rush of students, faculty and staff who head to the various dining facilities at class break for a great meal and opportunity to dine with friends,” he said. “The dining team does a great job getting everyone served as quickly as possible.”
Carmen Reisener, assistant professor of counseling and educational psychology, said she is not a regular visitor to the dining area except on special occasions, but she said she feels the new dining facility needs to open quickly.
“It is important to provide healthy meals to all members of the campus community, so I am sad to hear it did never open up. Especially nowadays in Mississippi with obesity rates, healthy options need to be made available to students, faculty and staff,” she said.
Fresh Food Company will accommodate students with a SMART shuttle stop in front of the facility, so students who live in the community can ride a shuttle to campus and be dropped off at Fresh Food Company.