To serve part of campus during a $10 million renovation of a campus dining center, the dining department at Colorado State University knew it needed a temporary facility that was going to entice and satisfy students. After looking at several options, including food trucks and mobile kitchens, Deon Lategan, director of dining services, says the department decided to just build its own facility. By partnering with the campus students center, which also has a renovation on the horizon, the two departments were able to split the cost of construction and create T-Dex, a custom-built solution for campus.
Lategan says the department wanted to do something for the location that was whimsical and fun for the students, but he didn't make the decision to build dining's own facility lightly.
"We made a few road trips and went to go look at some modular units," Lategan says. "There are people in the marketplace that will customize the kitchen and a dining room for you. Those would meet our needs, but they were very expensive. Then we looked at building our own and discovered that was very expensive too."
Lategan discovered a solution when he realized that the campus student center was also looking at having to close its dining options during a renovation. So Lategan approached that department about partnering to build a facility that would meet both group's needs.
"That way if we share the cost [of building it] becomes a little more affordable," Lategan says. "At a previous job, I had installed an express location That thing really took off, so I said, 'what if we recreated that?' I sketched it up and we engaged an architect who came up with the exterior finishes. We designed it in two 16-foot-wide sections. A crane can lift up the two halves to move the location."