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JCU architects plan for Inn Between renovation

A first look at JCU’s Inn Between scheduled for renovation in fall 2024.

Starting this summer, a well-known food service location at John Carroll University is getting a face lift. Following suit of the past renovations to the Schott Dining Hall, the D.J. Lombardo Student Center atrium and the coming Athletic Wellness and Events Center, the Inn Between will have a whole new look and feel when students return to campus in the fall.

The Inn Between is a quick service location for on-campus cuisine located in the basement of the atrium and across from The Caf. Currently, students can walk up to one of three locations (including the Blue Streak Grill, Cinco Cantina and the recently added Choolah Indian BBQ) and order a grab-and-go meal or pick up their pre-ordered dishes from a rack in front of the service counters. They can also buy a variety of quick bites from the convenience store-style (called the c-store) shelves inside the kitchen. However, this old style will be in the past in just a few short months.

According to Eric Smith, the director of Capital Projects at John Carroll, the school and Hasenstab Architects (the same business that designed and renovated the atrium), have been working on the area’s design since August 2023 although it has been on the list of student center improvements for a bit of time. Like the previously mentioned projects, Smith says that this renovation “will be a complete overhaul, with an open ceiling concept, new lighting, furniture, technology and flooring.”

When looking at the renderings of the project, students can expect to be greeted with an open floor plan filled with modern design features like angular shelving, acoustic tiles and a combination of different types of seating arrangements from booths to moveable chairs and tables. Also pictured are various, partially separate study rooms with gliding panels for privacy and sound proofing for those looking to hit the books.

“The project will include a full update of the elevator, lobby and reworking the restrooms adjacent to the Blue Steak Grill to include a lactation room, kitchenette and two single use restrooms,” Smith told The Carroll News. “Various types of new furniture will be provided for group study rooms, recreation activity areas and family room space. The proposed gaming area will include pool, ping pong and foosball.”

In a presentation to JCU’s student government on Jan. 23,, it was revealed how few students actually utilize the Inn Between as a study and socialization space with less than half of the respondents in a survey signaling that they use the location for these reasons. To combat this, the architects have prioritized “comfortable seating” and engaging activities like the ones Smith mentioned.

Regarding the restaurant portion, the cuisine service area appears to be separate from the recreation space but easily accessible via a sliding glass door. Inside will still be a convenience store but the food counters will be replaced with ordering kiosks and lockers which are meant to ease the delivery woes of Blue Streaks who have had their orders stolen or served cold.

These temperature sensitive lockers will only open to students who enter the correct code which they will be given through the Get App or through their kiosk order meaning the days of having your snack snatched will be in the past. The cooks will also still be accessible even though they will be operating in a kitchen not visible from the community facing side of the Inn Between.

Smith says that the construction documents have been finalized and are “currently out for bid.” The current hope is that this project will be complete before classes start in August 2024. Luke Kirchberger ‘27, John Carroll Student Government’s dining liaison, stated that he is incredibly excited for this project as it will “be more effectively utilized for students.”

“The new Inn Between renovation this summer will bring many improvements and modernize the area,” Kirchberger told The Carroll News. “It will allow for the space to be more usable for students in many different ways. The new space will include a game area, study areas, an area to eat and socialize with friends and much more.”

Although the Inn Between currently has its fans and its haters, it is yet to be seen how these renovations will impact the polarizing student perspective on this Carroll staple.

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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