Remodel Updates UNK’s Main Dining Hall, Increases Capacity

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is making improvements to the main dining hall on campus.

A remodel of The Market @ 27th will update the dining hall’s furniture, flooring and finishes, increase seating capacity and improve handicapped accessibility and safety.

“This project represents the final piece of a multiyear plan to renovate the dining areas inside the Nebraskan Student Union,” said Michael Christen, director of business services at UNK. “The remodel will create a more collaborative community space for students, employees and visitors, and better exemplify our partnership with Sodexo, the university’s dining services provider.”

Located on the second floor of the Nebraskan Student Union, The Market @ 27th serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays, and brunch and dinner on weekends. Late-night hours are also offered.

In addition to improving the dining hall’s overall look and functionality, the remodel will accommodate the new fraternity and sorority housing planned for the east side of campus.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved a project in February that replaces the current fraternity and sorority housing – University Residence North and University Residence South – through a combination of new construction and a renovation of Martin Hall. Located directly east of the student union, the new fraternity and sorority residence halls are scheduled to open in late 2022 or early 2023.

The Market @ 27th renovation is scheduled to begin next week, with a goal of completing the project before fall classes start Aug. 23. This will impact dining services for the remainder of the spring semester and through the summer.

Once demolition is underway, The Market @ 27th dining hall will be closed. Meals, both to-go and sit-down, will be served from Ponderosa Rooms A and B on the second floor of the student union. Multiple meal options will be offered. Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Subway, The Grid and Louie’s Diner will remain open for students, employees and visitors.

Meals for summer camps, conferences and early arrivals will be scheduled and located accordingly.

“While the schedule for demo and construction may not be ideal, it will allow the least amount of disruption for early arrivals and other students in the fall semester,” Christen said. “With minor adjustments this semester, we believe we can have a finished product for the fall semester that will be a feature of the student experience at UNK.”

Led by design firm Wilkins ADP and contractor Sampson Construction, the $1.7 million remodeling project will be paid for with enhancement and renovation funds included in the Sodexo contract and university facility reserves.

Louie’s Diner, a food court in University Residence South, will be eliminated after the new fraternity and sorority housing opens, saving UNK an estimated $250,000 to $350,000 in yearly food services expenses.

A renovation of the Nebraskan Student Union’s lower level was completed in 2018. That project improved the dining areas, added a Starbucks and Chick-fil-A, created more meeting and study spaces and addressed HVAC, lighting and sewer issues.

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