Worth Hills dining facility follows up historic cafeteria

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    Worth Hills is in the process of adding new dining options to campus with the development of a currently unnamed multipurpose building, but it will not be the first time Worth Hills has a dining facility. 

    In the fall of 1963, according to “TCU: A Hundred Years of History,” construction began on what was known as the Worth Hills Cafeteria. The cafeteria opened the fall semester in 1964.

    Over the years, the cafeteria underwent a variety of changes, including altering venue styles, modifying menu options and revising the name to Pond Street Grill.

    Regardless of the name change, Michael Russel, executive director of student affairs administration, said Pond Street Grill still worked like a cafeteria.

    Frank Horak, TCU’s resident dining manger, is a former supervisor at Pond Street Grill. He said students purchased food à la carte style, which made the meals relatively expensive compared to other dining options on or around campus. Horak said most of the students who lived in Worth Hills ate there because it was convenient.

    “It was good food. Sodexo was doing a lot of business there,” Horak said.

    Russel explained that although some costumers were loyal, there was varied success with number of people eating at Pond Street Grill. He said the number of students who dined at the facility wasn’t sufficient to support a full-fledged operation.

    Pond Street Grill closed on Dec. 10, 2008. After the venue closed down, the location was turned into a study spot for students on April 1, 2009.

    The building’s use as a study spot was short-lived. In the fall 2010, the Pond Street building transitioned into what is now some athletic offices.

    Due to the expected increases in student population in Worth Hills, TCU will bring another dining facility to the area with the development of the multipurpose building.

    According to TCU’s Campus Construction website, the student population in Worth Hills will amount to 1,770 students within the next few years.

    Russel said with the redevelopments of the fraternity and sorority houses, the addition of the two new residence halls and the construction of a third hall, there was a need to provide students with a closer place to eat. Russel said a maxed-out capacity at Market Square was a contributing factor as well.

    The new multipurpose building is designed to be four different restaurants, he said, including a coffee shop, a Mexican restaurant, a hamburger joint and a chef’s corner where the chef will select a menu for the day.

    Russel said the university wanted the building to offer students a community center beyond just somewhere to eat.

    There will also be study areas available in the building. Two rooms will be located upstairs which can be divided into six smaller rooms for chapters and other groups to hold meetings.

    The Fraternity and Sorority Life staff will move their offices into the building as well.

    Russel said he doesn’t foresee the new dining facility experiencing the same fate as Pond Street Grill, as there will be three times more people living in Worth Hills. 

    He also said he wasn’t concerned about the facility potentially dividing the Greek community from the main campus population, saying he didn’t think it will be “that big of an issue.” Russel explained that with the development of the new residence halls, the balance of students using the facility would be equal.

    Horak also agreed with Russel that the new facility will be more successful than Pond Street Grill.

    “Its going to be very successful, and I personally think the Greek area has needed some eating facilities quite awhile ago,” he said.

    Alayna Sublette, a sophomore political science major, said because of the new residence halls, Greek students won’t be the only part of the TCU community that will utilize the building.

    “I think we definitely need [an additional dining facility], it gets really busy in the BLUU,” Sublette said.

    Melissa Piesche, a first-year early childhood education major, said she doesn’t imagine a lack of business being a problem either. She said she thinks the building will have a lot of business just because it will be new.

    “I think it will improve community within the Greek houses and make Worth Hills more of a community,” Piesche said. “If something is new, people will go there.”

    The multipurpose building will not be directly located where Pond Street Grill was placed. Instead, the facility will be built slightly closer to main campus, right off the southwest corner of Stadium and Bellaire drives. 

    The expected completion and opening of the multipurpose building is January 2015.