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Students enjoy food, atmosphere at Cougar Woods
It’s been several weeks since the Cougar Woods Dining Hall opened, and the feedback from students seems to be the same: two thumbs up.

Gabrielle Hackett, a biology major who lives in the adjacent Quads, says she eats at Cougar Woods three times a day. Besides being convenient because of its proximity, the food is good, she said.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s probably like a 7 or 8,” she said.

The dining hall opened Oct. 1 at the northeast corner of Cullen Boulevard and Wheeler Avenue. The building’s unique wall of windows not only is striking from an architectural standpoint, it also serves a useful purpose. The special design allows it to save energy by maximizing the use of natural light.

In addition, it also is able to save up to 20 percent of water usage with its plumbing fixtures that help conserve water. And the building is expected to save up to 30 percent on energy usage through its high-efficiency HVAC equipment and other strategies for reducing energy demand.

Hackett was not aware that such energy-saving features were intentionally built into the facility.

“It’s definitely a good thing,” she said.

Like Hackett, Joshua Peacock, a computer engineering student, also lives in the Quads. He eats at Cougar Woods about twice a day. One of the reasons, he said, is that it doesn’t seem as crowded in the 600-seat facility as other eating establishments on campus. He also likes the food.

“It’s just better food and more relaxing,” he said.

Cougar Woods features a state-of-the-art Real Food on Campus restaurant. Students pay upon entering and can eat as much as they care to. There are several entrée stations, including a grill, salad bar and deli. In addition, there is a station where cooks can make individual portions of a select entrée so that students can customize their meal.

There also is a fully-stocked dessert bar.

The facility takes the place of the RFoC that had been located on the ground floor of Oberholtzer Hall and which seated 150 customers.

Hackett said she anxiously awaited the opening of the new dining hall. She wasn’t disappointed.

“I figured it would be bigger and there would be more choices,” she said.

Meghan Dibacco, an engineering student who lives on campus, eats at Cougar Woods twice a day. Why?

“It’s not as busy,” she said. “And they have staple food here – hamburgers and stuff.”

Cougar Woods Dining Hall is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is closed on the weekend.