Feb 252008
 
Authors: Bijah Gibson

University officials say Ram’s Horn, the new dining hall of the Academic Village, will be a dining experience unlike any other on campus.

The building will feature extensive decorum and state-of-the-art technology, all while remaining an environmentally friendly facility, officials said.

Students were offered tours of the new facilities on Feb. 18, 19 and 20, led by Deon Lategan, the director of Residential Dining Services.

“We are opening this to show the honors and engineering students who’ve been living in a construction zone what they’re getting,” Lategan said.

Upon entering the building, Lategan said he believed students would be impressed by smaller details: high ceilings, a waterfall and two ponds, which he says will give the lobby an air of grandeur.

“I wanted a lobby with volume,” Lategan said.

The rushing water of the waterfall will drown out the noise from the 700 people the facility is capable of seating.

Dining on the first floor will feature a Sports Grille, which will serve pub-style food as well as pizza cooked in a stone hearth oven. The Sports Grille will be decorated with memorabilia donated by the CSU athletic department, Lategan said.

Also on the first floor, students will find a convenience store much like Durrell Express. The convenience store boasts an espresso and smoothie bar as well. Students will even be able to taste a unique new coffee.

“There will be a CSU blend that was specially blended for us,” Lategan said.

The second floor is also full of special features.

One station that Lategan said he believed would be popular was the Mongolian Grille, which includes a traditional wok and will serve two or three different stir-fries daily. Students will also be able to make their own stir-fries from a variety of greens, proteins and sauces and watch as it is cooked right before their eyes.

Other stations on the second floor include a dessert station with an old-fashioned revolving pie case, a “Sizzling Salads” station, a Tex-Mex station and a station designated to serve wraps and sandwiches.

Lategan said the entire building, from the numerous stations to the expensive decorations, will be powered through green means.

“We’ve tried to incorporate efficiencies into the design,” Lategan said, going on to describe a number of ways in which the building is eco-friendly.

While students dine they will have sweeping views of the campus. There are also outdoor seating areas overlooking the Academic Village plaza, which Lategan predicts will become a popular place.

“We’re hoping this will become a gathering place for students,” Lategan said.

Other features that will be available include a nutrition station and a private dining room that will seat up to 50 people.

Before leaving the facility, students will drop their dishes off on in a state-of-the-art dish drop area. Lategan points out that a special feature of the dish drop area is that it is equipped with a pulper, which he joked was similar to a “garbage disposal on steroids.” The pulper will grind up all leftover food. Water will then be extracted from the solids to be reused and the solids will be taken to a compost farm, said Lategan.

“We believe we’ll be able to reduce our waste stream by 70 percent,” Lategan said. He also noted that this system will help the facility to save over 120,000 gallons of water per month.

When Ram’s Horn begins serving on Mar. 24, only the first floor will be open and it will feature a modified menu. Students will be able to eat lunch and dinner at Ram’s Horn as well as visit Ram’s Express from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bill Tiedje, an agricultural business major living the Academic Village, is anticipating the opening.

“I am disappointed that it has taken this long to open, but I am glad to see progress,” Tiedje said.

Earlier this semester, Newsom students expressed outcry over the new dining facility, as their current dining hall located at Newsom would be closed once Ram’s Horn opens. Employees from Newsom, Edwards and Ingersoll will be coming to work in the Academic Village, said Crystal Elmore, the publications coordinator for Housing and Dining Services.

Further questions about the facility can be answered by visiting the Housing and Dining Services Web site.

Staff writer Bijah Gibson can be reached at news@collegian.com

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