University Union, new dining halls worth the wait

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    No one ever thought the day would come.

    But almost two years, millions of dollars and 143,000 square feet later, the pinnacle of TCU’s Campus Commons is finally complete. Sounds of jackhammers and cranes have slowly subsided, and the campus is now left with the brand-new, state-of-the-art Brown Lupton University Union to fill the void left by the departure of the old Student Center. And setting foot inside this beautiful facility for the first time is all it takes to realize that it is, in fact, all that and a bag of potato chips. The BLUU really is the crown jewel of TCU. It represents everything that the university stands for and is moving toward. It was built with students in mind.

    The BLUU is home to a variety of offices and organizations. It houses Student Development Services, the Student Government Association, a Grand Ballroom that seats 600, the post office and the Heritage Center, just to name a few. In addition, Market Square, the main dining facility on campus, can be found in the BLUU.

    This is what everyone is talking about. Market Square is one of the hottest subjects across campus as school starts. Debates abound as to whether it really measures up or not. Regardless, the “visit 57 times in one day and eat-all-you-can” mentality of the new dining plan is something that will take a long while to wear off, even if there is no takeout – because students can eat until they are “bluu” in the face.

    In fact, it is kind of overwhelming walking into Market Square. The flat-screen LCD monitors devoted to listing the menu gives the appeal of a five-star restaurant. The food itself is not five-star quality, but it is still good. The seven restaurants each have something unique to offer, and the all-day breakfast is an element of genius, especially for those of us who have 8 a.m. classes and don’t want to wake up much earlier than that.

    Supplementing Market Square is 1873, the sports restaurant and grill that will remain open until the wee hours of the morning, closing at 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on the weekends. The grill operates on Frog Bucks, but the great thing is that after 8 p.m. until closing, it moves to the unlimited portion of the dining plan. Late night studiers will no doubt be frequent visitors.

    Wrapping up the dining options in the new Union is the Corner Store, which is FrogBytes on steroids under a different name. It has coffee, snacks, drinks and more available in exchange for your Frog Bucks.

    Having spent some time during orientation in the BLUU this past week, it is difficult to find something to complain about. The BLUU was worth the wait. No doubt I will be visiting this place once or twice, or even 57 times, a day.