The expansion of the Muenster University Center opened noon on Monday. Hundreds of students came to the new dining area to eat Qdoba Mexican Grill, Einstein Bagel Bros. and Chick-fil-A.
“People have worked so hard to make this happen on the first day that students are back,” Dean of Students Kim Grieve said. “We couldn’t be more pleased.”
In addition to three new franchise food vendors, changes were made to the existing meal options at the University of South Dakota. The Commons, previously located in North Complex, was moved to the MUC in the space that previously hosted the Marketplace.
USD President James Abbott spoke briefly in the MUC Pit Lounge at the grand opening about how the expansion was handed over to the university at 6 a.m. that morning, but they wanted a fair turnout of students for the opening, so they moved it to noon.
Grieve said the move of the Commons to the MUC was to create a community and because the Commons was an older space.
“It was really to build that sense of community to have everybody in the same space,” Grieve said.
The Marketplace moved into the expanded area. The expanded area adds more seating options including tables, booths and a high-top bar area with outlets for computers.
A giant sixteen-panel television is also on display in the new dining area. The screen can have multiple television feeds or one giant screen for students to watch.
The opening celebration included appearances from USD’s mascot, the Chick-fil-A mascot, a photo booth and prizes being raffled off.
Ted Muenster, whom the building is named after, was present to give away prizes and welcome students to the new expansion.
Sophomore Alexa Cimpl was already taking advantage of the new MUC seating area Monday, and said compared to last semester, she doesn’t see overcrowding a problem anymore in the dining area.
“There’s so much more. There a lot of places to sit when you eat, study, whatever,” she said.
Grieve said she hopes the new expansion brings the students, faculty and the Vermillion community together in one building. From the floor plans to building of physical space she loves the new MUC.
“It is the most amazing building,” Grieve said. “Walking through the halls and seeing students’ smiles on their face and disbelief in their eyes has been so rewarding to me.”