Kutztown University eyes major renovations, including Starbucks

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The McFarland Student Union building at Kutztown Univeristy (Photo courtesy of kutztown.edu)
The McFarland Student Union building at Kutztown Univeristy (Photo courtesy of kutztown.edu)

Students and faculty heading back to class at Kutztown University this month will get the chance to get their daily dose of java from a new coffee shop, a project tied to a major renovation at a prominent social gathering space.

Officials say Starbucks will be open by the time fall classes return on Aug. 25.

“We believe it will be open and operational on Aug. 23 when the freshmen move in,” said Kent Dahlquist, director of housing, residence life and dining services at the university. “We have done a tremendous amount of assessment on the campus; this is one of those areas that came forward [a larger coffee shop]. The dining services master plan identified a full-service coffee facility and this was the best location.”

The Starbucks will be in the portion of the McFarland Student Union building that is known as the Bear’s Den, which always had a coffee shop in that location, Dahlquist said.

He described it as a full-service Starbucks operation that would be similar to what one would see in any retail location in a community.

Aside from the Starbucks, Bear’s Den renovations include an expanded mezzanine to increase student study space and expand seating, Dahlquist said. The university also modified the entrance area to the building.

The university is bringing back 13 previous student employees who worked at the former coffee shop and will hire a manager for the Starbucks, Dahlquist said.

According to a report from Kutztown University, the Starbucks project is estimated to cost $1.5 million. Cresswell Construction served as the construction manager.  The project was a joint venture between Crabtree Rohrbach out of Harrisburg and Stantec, which used to be HSW but were bought out since the university started design on the project, according to Matt Santos, Kutztown University spokesman.

The front of house operations, which includes the open prep and serving area, customer area and seating bar, are about 600 square feet, while the back of house operations (food prep, storage, dish cleaning, etc.) cover about 300 square feet, according to Matt Santos, director of university relations for the university.

The total space for the entire renovation, including the Starbucks space, is about 7,000 square feet, according to Santos.

The work at the student union building represents the first part of a multiphase student dining renovation project. This project includes the reconfiguration and renovation of the north side of the McFarland Student Union building.

Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it. Brian also has a strong interest in health and fitness. He works part-time as a personal trainer at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem and earned his personal fitness trainer certification from World Instructor Training Schools. He loves to run and will be competing in his first half-marathon on Nov. 23 to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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