The Daily Gamecock

Russell House renovations change retail locations, meal plan for students

<p>A person working on Russell House construction on June 7, 2022. Russell House is undergoing changes to their dining areas, including the addition of new dining hall.</p>
A person working on Russell House construction on June 7, 2022. Russell House is undergoing changes to their dining areas, including the addition of new dining hall.

Russell House looks different this fall as the first floor gained new dining retail locations and the second floor changed into a residential dining hall.

The renovations stem from USC’s 2017 contract with Carolina Food Co., according to Faren Alston, the marketing director for Carolina Food Co.

“This renovation was approved to come to fruition this year,” Alston said in an email to The Daily Gamecock. “That decision then prompted the decision to relocate and sunset some of the existing dining locations.”

Construction to the dining areas in Russell House started on May 2 with plans for it to be finished before the fall 2022 semester begins.

The new dining hall, Gamecock Park, will consist of seven different stations that include options ranging from pasta, pizza and dessert to an international food station and a True Balance section.

“This will be the sixth all-you-care-to-eat dining location offered to support a residential campus and the all access meal plan structure that is available to students,” Alston said in the email.

Along with the dining hall, USC is adding more seating to the second floor of Russell House to accommodate seating for 290 people. Anyone who wishes to eat at Gamecock Park but does not have the meal plan can pay a door rate of $10.50 when entering the dining hall.

While the second floor of Russell House previously held retail locations such as Food Lab, Twisted Taco and Gamecock General, these places were relocated to the first floor of Russell House with Food Lab replacing Tavolino and Twisted Taco taking the place of Congaree River Smokehouse. 

Gamecock General merged with Fresh Lane and Hissho Sushi was replaced with Panda Express.

Margaret Kildow, the director of operations for Carolina Food Co., said Food Lab will continue with its normal rotating menu during dinner and connect with local vendors during lunch hours.

“We are also working on partnerships with local restaurants right now, getting together that portfolio, so during lunch period, (Food Lab) will be a rotation of local restaurants from the community,” Kildow said.

Horseshoe Deli will take the place of the Einstein Bros. Bagels in the J. Welsh Humanities Building. It will be a café, serving coffee from Indah Coffee and offering breakfast items each morning. 

Because the east side of campus will now have another sandwich place, Carolina Food Co. is shifting Colloquium Café's menu to carry chicken finger platters, wraps and salads, according to Alston. 

Carolina Food Co. is also looking to add a dining space, Brew Bar, to Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center that will serve coffee, smoothies and to-go salads and sandwiches. Carolina Food Co. will also add a "salad robot" in the Arnold School of Public Health.

Other changes to campus dining include Market 101 reopening in McBryde, which will serve items such as slushies and other goods found in a convenience store. 

Grubhub will also eliminate its 59-cent fee when ordering food, and food lockers will be added to Food Lab, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Twisted Taco.

“We’ll have the food lockers to use — the student, or whoever, will get the code to their phone, they’ll use the code to open up the locker and they’ll be able to get their food out,” Kildow said.

The Residential All-Access meal plan, a required option for first-year students, will cost students $2,210 each semester, an 8.5% increase from last year. 

These changes should accommodate more students coming into Russell House, according to Sandi Lee, the director of revenue contract management and support for CarolinaCard. 

“Our on-campus students need a throughput,” Lee said. “There are so many students coming in and out of these doors. It was needed to have an all-access here.”


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