University considers building restaurant in Stone Lodge

Students walk past the Stone Lodge on UNA’s campus Nov. 17. The university is considering turning the building into a pizza restaurant. 

News Editor Kaitlyn Davis

As the university considers turning Stone Lodge into a pizza place, registered student organizations that meet there are considering alternative locations.

Several RSOs meet in the Stone Lodge and the restaurant might take away a meeting place.

UNA might not make a decision on whether or not to construct the restaurant until spring or summer of 2017, said Director of Dining Susan Breer.

If the university decides to take the project on, construction will take place during the summer or fall of 2017, said Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields in an email.

“Brick oven pizza and root beer on tap will be served (at the restaurant),” said SGA President Sarah Green in an email, who received the information from the Food Service Shared Governance Committee.

The restaurant could take up both floors of the Stone Lodge, depending on the design. But this decision will take a meeting place away from registered student organizations, Shields said.

“If both floors are used, we will certainly need to find some additional space or have some current spaces open later at night,” Shields said.  “We would work with the (Student Government Association) to develop a plan to support our RSOs.”

Shields asked SGA to discuss and provide feedback on the layout of the potential restaurant, Green said.

“The overall consensus of the branches was to make the (Stone Lodge) a two-level pizza venue,” Green said.

The old SGA office in the Guillot University Center is an alternative space for RSOs to meet that normally meet in Stone Lodge, Green said.

But Hispanic Cultural Organization President Mai Curott said the old SGA office space is not an ideal location. HCO holds meetings in Stone Lodge.

“I know SGA says we can use those offices, but I just don’t think it’ll be the same,” Curott said. I’m worried people will have a hard time finding it. The Stone Lodge is so central to campus, and it has a nice, private atmosphere.”

The Stone Lodge has the perfect setup, she said.

“It has plenty of tables, chairs, a big screen projector, and we can easily bring outside food without Chartwells’ interference,” Curott said. “That’s going to be hard to find.”

To junior Alex Jones, pizza for students to eat trumps places for students to meet.

“(The pizza restaurant) sounds awesome,” Jones said. “We need a good pizza place on campus. As far as RSOs, there are plenty of places to meet on campus.”

Green said there is still much SGA is discussing regarding the pizza restaurant such as whether or not one floor of the Stone Lodge is large enough for a restaurant and if the venue will eventually serve beer.

Serving craft beer at the restaurant has been a suggestion, but the university is not pursuing the idea right now, Shields said.

UNA would not be alone in this endeavor as the University of Alabama in Huntsville serves alcohol on its campus, Shields said.

“We would have to have a lot of discussions and good plans before we would move forward with this idea,” Shields said.

 Junior Austin Hogue said he thinks serving beer on campus would be convenient for students.

“I think many students would like a pizza and beer restaurant, especially one that is on campus,” Hogue said. “That way no one has to drive downtown or elsewhere to get a drink or some food.”