The wait for the new dining hall — which will be located on the academic side of campus — is expected to end next semester.
Turner Place, the newest 35,000-square-foot dining area, is slated to open this fall, with multiple restaurants and services.
In 2005, Dining Services collaborated with Virginia Tech officials to determine a location for Turner Place. Initially, Johnston Student Center was considered. “The infrastructure just wasn’t large enough for the scope of the student population and the availability of the use of meal plans,” said Ted Faulkner, director of Dining Services.
Porter Khouw Consulting, Inc. — a national foodservice management consulting and design firm — was hired in 2007 to interview students and solicit information from them so Dining Services could gather ideas regarding the building for Turner Place. “Out of that survey, students said they would love something on the academic side, which confirmed our thoughts,” Faulkner said.
Kurban Hakimov, a sophomore computer science major, shares the overall student sentiment. “It works out better for me because that’s where I get off of the bus,” Hakimov said.
John Barrett, the assistant director of Turner Place, is also pleased with the location of the dining hall.
“It will be great for the students because they won’t have to come across the Drillfield,” he said. “After they have a class, they can roll through and get a meal to go.” Dining Services chose eight restaurants for Turner Place.
Atomic Pizzeria, Jamba Juice and 1872 Fire Grill will be on the building’s first floor.
The university created the premise for 1872 Fire Grill — the year represents when Tech was established.
“We are going to do a 5-foot char grill that’s totally wood sourced,” Faulkner said
Dining Services has teamed up with the Forestry Club, which agreed to cut the wood for the grill.
“To our knowledge, there is no other university in the United States that has that, so it will be a first,” Faulkner said. “We are really excited about that.”
Atomic Pizza will offer personal pizzas, casserole dishes and pasta.
“We felt that it would lend itself very well if students had a class to go to or they were going to go find a nook to study, that an individual pizza is pretty portable,” Faulkner said.
The second floor will house a Qdoba, Origami, Bruegger’s Bagels, Soup Garden and Dolci E Caffe.
Origami, a steakhouse providing diners Teppanyaki — a style of Japanese cuisine — experience, will also offer sushi.
“There will be a Teppanyaki grill, Teppanyaki being where the chef is out front and cooking the food before you,” Faulkner said. “That too will be the first at a university.”
The interior design of Origami Grill was made special to resemble an actual folded piece of Japanese art.
“Our hood system that sucks the exhaust and the smoke out of the cooking tables is going to be clad in ... these yellow glowing glass figures that look like origami.” Faulkner said. “It’s going to be truly spectacular.”
Bruegger’s Bagels has a unique ordering process — instead of entering the building to order, students can order at a walk-up, to-go window outside the building.
The soup and salad area is going to serve diners hand-tossed salads with hot protein options.
“We wanted to be able to grill poultry items, beef items and maybe some seafood items,” Faulkner said.
On the second floor, there will also be open-air merchandisers that will sell prepackaged sandwiches and wraps, as well as freshly made gelatos and crepes.
Dining services is very excited for the opening of Turner Place and to see student’s reactions.
The dining hall will have 833 seats indoors and 244 patio seats outdoors. The building’s final construction cost will be about $35.7
The building also received a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification because it was built using strategies to improve energy savings.