Part 3: DU Prepares to Open Its Community Commons
Next month, a major component of the Denver Advantage Campus Framework Plan will be complete and accessible to the public. When the University of Denver opens the doors on its new Community Commons, it will invigorate the traditional student experience by transforming the way our community interacts and by reimagining the way space is used on campus.
Located in the heart of campus, the 132,000-square-foot building sits on the footprint of what was the Driscoll Student Center’s north side. The four-story commons will house spaces for events, programming, student organizations and collaborative opportunities, as well as a central dining hall to bring people together for meals and conversation.
Ahead of the opening, the DU Newsroom will publish a four-part preview of what students, faculty and staff can expect in the new year. This week’s feature takes us to the second floor.
When the Community Commons opens next month, the Driscoll Bridge over Evans Avenue will also officially reopen. Before construction, the bridge accommodated 4,000 crossings per day. That number is likely to increase as Driscoll Bridge will now connect to the second floor of the Community Commons, which is likely to become the most popular place on campus.
The second floor of the commons is focused on dining, highlighted by the Rebecca Chopp Grand Central Market. Serving as the campus dining room, this central food hall will host nine different micro-restaurant concepts providing a variety of ever-changing cuisine. International, hibachi, custom-made pizza and pasta, stir fry, traditional grill, salads, allergen-free, vegan and vegetarian will all be among options.
One significant difference separating this food hall from other campus options is that it will be free of food boards cluttering each station. Instead, all menu items will be available by downloading the Bite University App by Sodexo. On the app, diners can view the menu options, review nutritional information, see the hours of operation for each station and all associated pricing.
When it comes to purchasing food, Sodexo is moving to à la carte pricing. While it will be possible to only purchase one or two items at a time, the best value will be using the full meal option. Depending on the block plan an individual is signed up for, a swipe of the DU I.D. Card for a full meal will consist of an entrée, three sides and a fountain drink. The traditional block meal plan for first and second year students will continue to be an option, but new options, such as a 50 block plan ($8.82 for a full meal), 10 block plan ($9.50 for a full meal), and the flex gold meal plan ($11.25 for a full meal), also will be offered.
The Rebecca Chopp Grand Central Market will also be a great place to connect with friends. More than 700 people can gather inside or on the courtyard terrace that wraps around the outside of the food hall, offer mountain views and the chance to soak up some Vitamin D. Seats inside and outside all offer convenient access to power outlets and USB ports.
Inside the food hall, the Grand Central Fireplace invites everyone to enjoy the warmth of a fire along with the company of friends. The room also features the Grand Market Dining Room, a small private room providing a comfortable space for meetings over meals with views of Mount Evans.
Two additional spaces on the second floor are expected to get lots of use. With views of the Campus Green and an intimate area around a fireplace, the faculty lounge will be the first dedicated on-campus space for faculty, outside of their individual offices. Adjacent to the faculty lounge, a balcony, known as the overlook, will provide a view of the Grand Forum, the largest social and event space in the Community Commons.
Next week the DU Newsroom will explore the first floor of the new Community Commons and how it will serve as the main entry to the Community Commons.