Mrs. E’s renovation improves look, expands variety
- Sep. 8, 2013
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Over a 78-day period during the summer, KU Dining Services gutted and then renovated the Daisy Hill dining facility, Mrs. E’s.
The $5 million renovation project began on May 17 and was open to students by the beginning of classes. Renovations to the facility include the addition of stations that cater to dietary needs with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, additional seating and updated equipment.
“We had a number of things that we were getting to the point it was just worn out,” said Mark Maranell, manager of Mrs. E’s. “We certainly did our best to keep the place in good condition, keep things clean and in function but we had a number of pieces of equipment that were just worn out. It was time.”
According to Sheryl Kidwell, assistant director of KU Memorial Unions residential dining, the project had been in the books for roughly five years, but because of renovations to other dining facilities, it didn’t come to life until this year.
“Our design construction management team here on campus has to be involved and then we have to do interviews with contractors and consultants and all that and equipment contractors,” she said. “That’s why it took so long.”
One thing that both Kidwell and Maranell say that students have noticed about the facility is how much smoother the flow in and out of the dining room is.
“It definitely has a cleaner, much more modern look,” said Dalton Kingery, a freshman from Fredonia, Kan.. “I feel like there’s a lot more space than there used to be.”
Another new feature of the facility is the K-You Zone, which expanded catering to students with special dietary needs, specifically those with gluten sensitivities. Kidwell says that in the past, there have been gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options available to those students, but were never prominently featured in Mrs. E’s.
“We actually did a focus group last year with a group of those students for all of KU Dining and we asked ‘were we meeting your needs?’ and ‘where can we do better?’” Kidwell said. “We’ve always offered it but we didn’t do a good job of featuring it and now we’re able to do that.”
KU Dining Services held a test run in August with a Pan-Hellenic sorority rush event. It was their first taste of what students thought of the new facility, and according to Kidwell, it was a success.
“They were extremely impressed with the facilities, the different concepts and the variety of food that we’re able to do for them,” Kidwell said.
Elly Grimm is a journalism major from Conway Springs. Read more from Elly Grimm.