Busey-Evans dining hall to close down indefinitely by Fall 2020

A+student+takes+an+egg+roll+from+the+Busey-Evans+buffet+on+Friday.+The+Busey-Evans+dining+hall+will+be+closed+next+year.

Ryan Ash

A student takes an egg roll from the Busey-Evans buffet on Friday. The Busey-Evans dining hall will be closed next year.

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

As students think about where to live for the next school year, they should take into consideration the new developments at Busey-Evans dining hall and Illinois Street Residence hall that will be in place by fall 2020. 

“The Busey-Evans dining hall is being closed because we’re preparing to open the new Illinois Street Residence hall dining center in August 2020,” said Chelsea Hamilton, senior assistant director of Communications and Marketing for University Housing.

The renovations for ISR have been in process since spring 2018, and the construction is beginning to come to a close. 

“University Housing is still deciding what will be in the Busey-Evans dining hall after the dining facility closes in May,” Hamilton said in a follow-up email. “Last semester, we surveyed residents and requested their input and ideas on ways University Housing could better utilize common space in the Urbana residence halls. This data is being used to help us make an informed and purposeful decision.”

Currently, students living at ISR do not have a dining hall. The University opened two dining facilities, Blue 41 and Orange on Green, at the Illini Union for ISR residents this year.

As the University prepares for the ISR residence hall to be completed in August, they have had to make accommodations for this project to be successful. The new amenities include a dining area with over 1,300 seating areas, nine micro-restaurants, a convenience store and a tea bar, Hamilton said. 

The staff at Busey-Evans will be reallocated to ISR to accommodate for these new amenities being installed at a much larger scale.

Noa Greenfeld, freshman in FAA and resident at Busey-Evans said she thinks not many people know about the Busey-Evans dining hall, which is why she thinks it’s closing, in addition to the new ISR dining hall. 

Even though the Busey-Evans dining hall isn’t the most well-known area to eat, there are many students who had varying views about the situation, as they weren’t aware of the change until recently.

“If it does close, making the trek over to Allen, I guess, or the Union or something would be a bit of a damper during the winter,” said John Lay, freshman in Engineering and Busey-Evans resident.

In order to inform students of the change, the University recently sent out emails to those who have chosen to live in the hall next year, notifying them that there will not be dining hall. A housing guide will be sent out to incoming students and will include information about Busey-Evans no longer having a dining hall in fall 2020, Hamilton said.

The location of Busey-Evans is another variable the University takes into account in its decision to close down the dining hall.

“When you really look at where Busey-Evans is located on campus, it’s about a six-minute walk to ISR, but it’s also just a four-minute walk over to the LAR dining hall,” Hamilton said. 

Hamilton said the projected number of students who would end up living at Busey-Evans is not subjected to change, even with the removal of the dining hall. 

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