The University of Central Arkansas has announced its plans for the current first-floor empty space in Donaghey Hall.
In a president’s update letter sent out to staff and students, UCA President Houston Davis outlined what new ideas would be coming to the building.
“Many in the campus community have inquired about the future of Donaghey Hall and I am happy to announce new businesses will soon call Donaghey Hall home,” he wrote.
In the letter, Davis stated that the first floor would house a new welcome center in addition to Einstein Bros. Bagels and Twisted Taco, which would create more dining options for students.
“We are working to ensure that students will be able to use their meal plan Dining Dollars and the campus community will be able to use their BearBucks at these new restaurants as well as at Marble Slab,” the email reads. “It is my hope that the campus and the Conway community enjoy these new additions, and I am excited for what the remaining space at Donaghey Hall will become.”
Formerly, the spots were filled with businesses including Mosaique Bistro and Grill, Blue Sail Coffee, Uncle T’s Deli-Market and Trek Bicycle Store, which closed due to low profits.
The only original retail space left is Marble Slab Creamery/Great American Cookies.
The UCA Makerspace is also fully operational and doing fine as well as the top three floors of residential space, officials said.
During a board of trustees meeting in February, Davis initially said he hoped the vacancies brought on by the businesses leaving could be geared toward serving students “whether that be food service expansion, enrollment services, services that are geared toward recruitment and retention of students or thinking about where our outreach efforts are.”
“Those are the three areas … I think they’re great opportunities for us to be able to use that space,” he said.
UCA Chief of Staff Kelley Erstine told the Log Cabin Democrat on Monday that years ago, UCA did a survey with students and one of the prominent requests was for a Tex-Mex type of eatery on campus, which is where Twisted Taco fits in.
He said in addition to the three food establishments, there would also be a general meeting space for the university to use with the welcome center intended to serve as a “front porch” for prospective students.
While plans aren’t complete for that area yet, Erstine said the space would include UCA recruiters, a representative from housing, and be a type of “one-stop-shop” for potential students. Campus tours would originate there as well.
He said UCA is “absolutely” expecting to see success in this new venture.
Erstine said the university hopes all new additions would be opened by fall 2018.