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LaFortune reveals new restaurant combination

Tori Roeck | Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Parts of LaFortune Student Center will be unrecognizable to returning students as a result of significant changes the University implemented this summer.

Building manager Brian Fremeau said these changes signify the University’s commitment to offering good services to the Notre Dame community.

“Our department values continuous improvement, and all of these changes are part of that mission to provide the best service to our students,” Fremeau said. “We seek ongoing feedback on ways in which we can better meet the needs of students, and the summer is often the best time to implement those changes.”

The most highly anticipated change is the new Pizza Hut and Taco Bell combination franchise in the basement, Fremeau said. In April, Food Services announced the duo would lease the space previously occupied by Sbarro.

“There has been plenty of enthusiasm around the opening of Taco Bell [and] Pizza Hut Express, as I’m sure Notre Dame Food Services can attest,” he said.

Sophomore Ethan Beaudoin has only been on campus for a few days, but he said he has already taken advantage of the new restaurant.

“I’ve been here three times already,” Beaudoin said.

He also said he plans to go to Taco Bell “two to three times a week.”

Sophomore Nate Cook said the new restaurant is a big improvement from Sbarro, especially the Taco Bell side.

“I like Taco Bell a lot, more than Sbarro,” Cook said. “Sbarro pizza wasn’t really that fresh. It was kind of old and had been sitting there for a while, so Taco Bell’s a lot fresher.”

Sophomore Brent Murphy said adding a Taco Bell in addition to a pizza place provided more choices for hungry students.

“Pizza was already an option at Reckers,” Murphy said.

Freshman Catherine Owers was one student ambivalent to the addition.

“I’ve never had them before, and I’m not inclined to go use them now,” Owers said. “I feel like there are enough other options.”

Owers said she would have rather seen a healthier restaurant replace Sbarro.

“I think healthy is better, generally speaking, but it’s not like there are no other healthy options,” she said.

The new hot spot for Flex point spending is not the only change to student center.

Fremeau said making changes to assist disabled students and faculty that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was an important part of the University’s efforts to improve LaFortune Student Center.

“We worked with the University Architect’s office on a barrier removal project to make the building more accessible and meet ADA compliance standards,” he said. “This involved the replacement of doors and door handles of offices and meeting rooms throughout the building, drinking fountain and counter height adjustments and other details.”

The elevator will also soon be replaced to conform to ADA standards, Fremeau said.

Other changes include a cell phone charging station now located in the Main Lounge and new renovations to the Brother Gorch Pool Hall in the basement, a project that is still in progress, he said.

“We’re very pleased with the projects that have been completed so far and we’re looking forward to completion of those that are still ongoing,” Fremeau said. “It’s always exciting to offer new spaces for students, especially since LaFortune Student Center is such an important part of student life.”