Construction Update: Renovated Classrooms, New Restaurants at the HUB

Over the summer 45 classrooms were renovated and three new restaurants moved into the HUB

Cindy Larive, UCR’s interim provost and executive vice chancellor, visited one of the renovated classrooms on September 28, 2017. david silos

The challenge was set: renovate 45 classrooms and help move three new businesses into the Highlander Union Building (HUB) area over the summer.

Crews from UC Riverside’s Facilities Services and Dining, Hospitality and Retail Services, led the charge, completing the work on time – and within budget.

Over the summer, 45 classrooms and lab spaces located in Sproul Hall, Watkins Hall, Olmstead Hall, and the Life Sciences Building, received a fresh coat of paint, LED lighting, flooring, multimedia upgrades, as well as new desks, tables, and chairs. The spaces now have new projectors, whiteboards instead of green chalkboards, bright accent walls, and many have vibrant green or orange reconfigurable seating. A few large lecture halls with fixed seating also have new desks.

Cindy Larive, UCR’s interim provost and executive vice chancellor, held “open classroom” meetings in the spring to allow feedback from faculty and students regarding new furniture for the classrooms. She introduced Node chairs which allow instructors to shift their rooms from a traditional lecture space, to a flexible setup. The chairs have wheels, a feature that gives students freedom to move around and form small work groups, or sit in large circles facing each other, creating a more collaborative environment.

“This is the first phase of a campuswide initiative to upgrade existing teaching spaces while addressing modifications for class spaces to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Larive. “This was a $4.5 million project and we stayed within budget.”

Larive visited classrooms on September 28, the first day of instruction in the fall quarter, and personally told students about the renovations.

“I’m happy to report that the remodeling project was completed on time and within budget thanks to the great work of John Casey, executive director of Construction and Project Management; Sharyl Murdock, space manager; Susan Marshburn, executive director of Facilities Services; Dalan Zee Dinh, strategic project consultant; Fernando Nuñez, assistant project manager; and their whole team as well as their partners in Information Technology Services,” Larive said.

Watch the before and after photos:

New HUB Restaurants

While the classrooms across campus were undergoing renovations, construction workers were also moving projects along at the HUB.

The new restaurants: Hibachi-San Japanese Kitchen, Chronic Tacos, and The Habit, replaced Sushi by Panda, Habaneros and Latitude Fifty-Five, which shut down over the summer.

Panda Express is staying, and La Fiamma will remain on site until a new business partner comes on board, said David Henry, executive director of Dining, Hospitality and Retail Services.

Henry’s team has been working to bring a bigger variety of eateries to campus, which is why working with third-party restaurants makes sense, he said. Not only do the vendors have a recognizable brand, but they also have greater bulk purchasing power, meaning they can buy food in larger quantities and still offer customers reasonable prices. UCR does not have that leverage, Henry said.

Back in May 2016, Henry’s team met with students and campus governing boards to request feedback on the types of restaurants they wanted to see on campus.

And they listened.

“We are constantly trying to offer the best to the campus community,” Henry said.

Dining is not just offering food, he said, it’s thinking about the larger picture and about the clients’ experience when they decide to eat at one of the HUB area restaurants.

“This is more than feeding. It’s creating an atmosphere; it’s thinking about nutrition; it’s everything from social menu engineering to sustainability,” Henry said. “We serve between 18,000-to-20,000 meals a day on the entire campus. That’s a big responsibility.”

Future construction work:

  • Ivan’s Café, located at Hinderaker Hall. Ivan’s will be moving inside Hinderaker by the end of 2017, but no heavy construction is expected.
  • The Barn is expected to shut down this academic year for a complete renovation and expansion. This includes a new kitchen, a faculty/staff dining facility, and a redone Barn Theater. This work will require an 18-month closure. During this period, Dining, Hospitality and Retail Services will bring in two food trucks to the Sproul Hall area, and install temporary patio tables with umbrellas. Once the Barn is closed, a ‘Barn Buffet’ will be offered twice a week at the Alumni and Visitor Center.

Recent Changes:

  • Updates to The Market at Glen Mor included expanding the market store with new merchandise that includes many organic and gluten-free grocery items.
  • Highlander food truck has been refreshed as the Growl Grill. The menu now includes a bacon-jalapeño mac-and-cheese grilled cheese sandwich, a basil pesto grilled chicken sandwich, and a breakfast bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich that will be served all day. Other menu items can be found at

Construction at the HUB:


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