Campus dining hub to shut down for renovations
The Santa Clara
February 22, 2018
A construction fence around the Bronco Patio is the first sign of the many improvements in store for Benson Memorial Center. In June, all of Benson will shut down as renovations start to transform the main level into a more cohesive, multipurpose venue.
“[Students will] see a much more open and inviting place just to relax, enjoy one another’s company,” Assistant Vice Provost for Student Life Matt Cameron said.
Come September 2018, students will see a significant change in the main level of Benson. The walls separating the Marketplace from The Bronco and Mission Bakery will come down to make the space of Benson flow better.
This will also allow Benson to be used more often, as portions of Benson will not be closed off to students, like the Marketplace, which currently shutters at 8:30 p.m.
Natural light is a priority for the Benson remodel. The shell roof enclosing the Bronco Patio as well as three light wells in Benson are central to this concept.
Twenty-foot openings in the floor of the main level of Benson will be located between where Mission Bakery and the wall that separates it from the Marketplace currently stand.
These openings will be lined with a transparent fence material around the perimeters for safety. These will act similarly to a pool fence, providing safety while not invading the space due to their transparent material, according to Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services Robin Reynolds.
The openings will allow light and sound to traverse across floors in Benson.
“I’m most excited for that,” junior Alex Perlman said, chair of the ASG Senate Facilities and Operations Committee. “Something they really want to do is tie the whole building together and make it more of a community center for all four years.”
For the changes that will be seen in September 2018, the budget is set at about $14 million.
A movement toward less stationary cash registers and more self-order kiosks and Tapingo options will be made. This is expected to increase the flow of lines and disperse customers more evenly.
This renovation will also bring an increase in available seating. Benson currently seats 546 people in the Marketplace, but will seat 648 following the renovation, according to Cameron. Variety of seating is a major proponent in the Benson renovation.
“The goal was to create different neighborhoods and opportunities for folks to gather, not just around food, but for any purpose,” Reynolds said.
Family-style tables, booths and seating against walls will join Benson’s updated layout.
The physical structures of the existing food stations will remain largely the same with the exception of a station referred to as Pacific Rim. In comparison to surrounding food stations, Pacific Rim will be substantial and will feature a menu with an Asian influence. A breakfast bar will also be added as one of the many new food options.
A change that may not get as warm of a welcome from the student body comes in the form of naming conventions. With the removal of its walls, the space currently referred to as The Bronco will become a part of the general space in Benson. In this transition, it will likely lose its name.
That area will still house food stands with options similar to the food featured at Tailgaters, 540 and Fresco. Vice Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students Jeanne Rosenberger predicts students will continue to refer to the space as The Bronco out of habit.
One alteration that students may not notice is in the loading docks on the south end of Benson. They will get deepened and reconfigured for the convenience of vendors and to decrease disruption in traffic flow on Market Street.
During spring quarter of this year, signage with renderings of what future spaces in Benson might look like following the remodel will be posted throughout Benson.
Contact Meghan McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.