(Reggie Beehner)

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At the end of last semester, Eastern’s Fountain Food Court was roped off for renovation. Throughout winter break, construction crews hammered, painted and did all the other loud things construction crews do. The renovation’s price tag was estimated at $750,000.So it’s not hard to imagine how some students reacted to the “new and improved” food court.

As you walk into the court from Memorial Plaza, you will be assailed on all sides by the sight of almost nothing unusual. The cashiers’ boxes are still right in front of you, just past a row of tables. Grille Works and Chick-fil-A are still in their old positions.

If you turn to your left as you enter, however, one thing that cannot be missed is the enormous, aqua-green and crescent-shaped wall hiding the sandwich shop and fountain drinks. The coffee shop is gone, replaced entirely by this hideous stretch of off-color wall, this blue-green monster, and a sign elsewhere hailing the purported arrival of “The Energy Zone.”

If the wall serves any obvious purpose, it is to distract the eye with a highly saturated, unappealing shade of blue-green. If nothing else, it could have been painted maroon; yes, maroon can be found all over campus, but it is still one of our school colors and far more fitting with the existing food court color scheme. With any luck, that blue-green monster of wall will soon find itself plastered in posters, advertisements and artwork.

Beyond the cash registers, you might notice things have been rearranged. The refrigerators and columns that once corralled students into tight packets in front of Grille Works and Chick-fil-A are gone, joyously so. The new space is wide open, and devoid of the old, uninteresting pasta place.

To your right, as you enter from the plaza, you will see that the raised section of floor, previously offering a unique view of the court (and, every so often, a performance space for musicians) has been removed. In its place are more tables and chairs on a flat, uninspiring surface that is no different from the rest of the court’s seating areas.

Next to the not-too-old standby, Quizno’s, you will find a row of floor-to-ceiling windows separating the waiting line area from the nearby stairwell entrance. Students now have the chance to be viewed from the right while they wait in line, an opportunity we have apparently been denied until now.

The question is, has the food court really been improved? Or has it just been rearranged and given a handful of odd bells and whistles (and a resident blue-green monster) to placate unsatisfied students? One thing is certain. To the layman’s eye, the changes to the fountain food court do not look like $750,000 worth of work.

It looks like Eastern traded a good coffee shop and a dining platform for some window dressing.