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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Campus

Moody Towers Dining’s closure among fall dining shakeups


Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Moody Towers Dining Commons will be closed this upcoming semester as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The dining hall’s closure is one of the many changes to dining operations from previous years. Cougar Woods Dining Commons will replace Moody Towers as the dining hall with 24/7 hours of operation.

“Due to the greatly reduced number of students anticipated to be on campus for Fall 2020, the decision was made to not open Moody Dining Commons for Fall 2020,” said UH spokesperson Chris Stipes in an email.

“Plans for Spring 2021 will be determined when more information is known about what the on-campus presence will be for next semester,” he added.

Beyond the two dining commons, other dining projects, including new restaurant openings, have been postponed until further notice.

Since unveiling its master plan in 2018, Dining Services have been aiming to add and improve the dining options on campus. However, the plans to open a Starbucks in the M.D. Anderson Library, a Dunkin’ in the Elgin Street Garage’s retail center, a Chick-fil-A food truck and other projects this fall have been stalled.

“Due to the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, UH Dining has placed a temporary pause on all vision plan projects, with the exception of the Auxiliary Retail Center,” said Rosie Ashley, Auxiliary Services program manager.

The Auxiliary Retail Center refers to a new retail center and food hall concept for 2022 at the site of the current Technology Annex. 

Recently, Auxiliary Services has also scrapped plans for two ghost restaurant concepts, Asado Burritos and La Cucina Modern Italian, which were proposed in direct response to the pandemic. It would have had contactless payment and pickup. 

“Due to the greatly reduced number of students anticipated to be on campus for Fall 2020, it was determined that the ghost restaurants would not be needed at this time,” Ashley said.

The alternate timeline for the plan is still being determined. Other stalled projects include the replacement of Taco Cabana near TDECU Stadium with Tandoori Nite, an Indian restaurant that had a location inside the now-closed Student Center Satellite.

Although there will be no additions planned for this fall, Dining Services expects to employ around 15-20 students for its existing operations, Ashley said.

The vision plan is a five-year guide to improve the campus dining experience and meet the needs of a growing campus population from 2018 through 2022. 

It was produced through a collaborative process that involved various parties including students, Auxiliary Services and Chartwells, the company that manages on-campus dining. 

Previously completed projects from the plan included the addition of Mondo Subs in Student Center South, an organic Freight Farm at Cougar Woods and use of the Boost mobile ordering app.

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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