With the opening of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, USC administrators say they still have no concrete plans for The Lot, a temporary food court that was erected during the construction of the campus center.
The Lot, opened in 2008, was home to a food court with quick options such as ZAO Noodle, Red Mango and Wolfgang Puck. It is no longer in operation, but the building is still standing.
USC Hospitality, to whom The Lot was leased, handed the space over to the university in June once campus center construction was complete, USC Hospitality Director Kris Klinger said.
Now that the campus center has replaced The Lot as the central on-campus eating space, the question remains of what will happen to The Lot.
Though not a definite course of action, one option the university is considering is using the building for “surge space,” said Joe Back, associate senior vice president for campus development and facilities management.
“This is essentially space where groups could be moved into temporarily while work is being done on their normal spaces. It would give the university flexibility to be able to move people [around],” Back said.
This could provide USC with a commodity it rarely enjoys: extra space, Back said.
Plans currently include installing additional bicycle parking behind the old kitchen of The Lot, he said.
“Extra bike racks would be good. I have noticed an increase in [bike] traffic around the campus center now that The Lot is closed,” said Anna Lyon, a junior majoring in anthropology.
Currently, the company DormBikes is using The Lot as storage for its bike inventory.
Despite the surge space idea and the addition of bike racks, the future of The Lot still remains very much up in the air.
“There has been no indication of any immediate plans from the university,” Back said. “What is happening now is mostly exterior work, which should be done in about a week or so. My office will be involved with interior renovations once [a final] decision is made.”
Lyon said keeping The Lot open as a food court would help decrease the problems of crowding and traffic at the campus center as well as provide a wider array of food options.
“It would have been good to have both open if each had different kinds of food. [One] could have junk food and the other [could be] more classy,” Lyon said.
However, Eliza Papazian, a sophomore majoring in health and humanity, said she is pleased with the campus center, calling the space an architectural success.
“The campus center is much better [than The Lot], mainly because it’s new and cleaner. It’s more comfortable because there is more seating and space,” Papazian said.
Students are still voicing a variety of concerns, however, about the campus center. Several key complaints included the long lines and crowding, high prices and limited food choices.
“It’s OK, but it doesn’t have Wolfgang Puck, and there aren’t a lot of healthy options,” said Chris Florquist, a senior majoring in economics. “There seems to be a gap between what the campus center serves and what students need. Good, healthy food is difficult to find.”