Turner Place remained bustling, but uncrowded, even as Monday morning classes let out; the relative calm didn't last long.
Virginia Tech's much anticipated dining hall, Turner Place at Lavery Hall, opened for the first time to faculty, students and staff Monday morning and remained packed all day. The building is the first new dining hall on campus built from the ground-up in 42 years.
In the early morning, the space teemed with cadets in uniform. One stood eating a gelato for breakfast, just past 8 a.m. At the same time, 21 people stood in line at Brueggers' Bagels, a national franchise. By 9 a.m. the line had grown to 40.
To beat those crowds, Jon Ciccone, a senior business information technology major, said he left his house at 6:45 in the morning and was the first student at Brueggers' Bagels, ordering a bacon, egg and cheese bagel.
"How many times are you going to be one of the first people in a dining hall?" Ciccone said. "It was worth waking up for."
By lunchtime, the space was noisy and crowded with students standing in lines that looked like they would be at home in an amusement park, weaving back and forth between black rope dividers.
Roommates Erica Scott and Andrea Ton are juniors, who have been excited for Turner Place all summer.
“Because we're the only campus with a Qdoba, I wanted to see all the hype,” said Ton.
Scott and Ton waited in line for 45 minutes at the popular mexican restaurant, the first on a college campus. By noon the line had grown to over 100 people, but Scott said the line was actually moving quickly for being as long as it was.
Another customer that afternoon was associate professor in the history department David Cline, who has an office immediately across from Turner Place and went for lunch Monday.
Dining services has billed the new facility as a community space, and encouraged faculty and staff such as Cline to the use of the dining hall, making it a place not just for students
“I've been waiting for some place other than Sub Station II,” Cline said. “I'm excited for some choice.”
Origami, the teppanyaki grill, served dinner from 4-7 p.m. Three tables, seating 10 people each, were seated on a first-come, first-serve basis for half-hour long meals. By 6 p.m. the line for the rest of the evening was full, with people being turned away.
A reservation system for the grill will be in place by next week.
Over 8,000 people, almost one-third of all undergraduates at Tech, were served by 7:15 p.m. Caffe Dolce and Qdoba are open until 10 p.m.