FAMU students weigh in on new amphitheater and dining hall

A layout plan of the FAMU Amphitheater that was set to originally be unveiled this summer. Photo courtesy of FAMU Forward

Although the pandemic has caused many students to halt their return to campus, Florida A&M University has continued to innovate the space as they await their return.

Craig Talton, who serves as FAMU’s Director of Facilities, Planning and Construction, has been working diligently on two of the most anticipated projects on campus: the amphitheater and the new dining facility.

The pandemic has caused a reworking of timelines across the nation for everyone, and the construction team has had their share of setbacks during the process.

“COVID-19 impacted factories, construction material cost, and the shipment of materials and equipment. The project was affected further when workers had to stay at home and quarantine because of positive COVID tests. Adhering to CDC social distancing guidelines has slowed down the construction,” Talton said.

Both projects are set to be complete soon and will be open for the Spring 2021 semester.

It might have come as a surprise to some seeing as the university just updated the food court a year before with the inclusion of the Chopping Block, new flooring, new seating arrangements and expansion of their popular Tropical Smoothie location.

The new dining hall will include a much larger selection of options and services provided.

“The dining facility layout consists of a business center, C Store, Pizza Station, Deli Station, Hot Station, Grille Station and salad area,” Talton said.

Although the new eateries will intrigue the on-campus students, Bryce Collier, a sophomore biomedical medical engineering student, doesn’t feel it’s enough of an incentive to venture to campus.

“I feel like it won’t affect me in a major way. If I planned to eat on campus it would definitely be rare,” Collier said.

On the other end of campus, the new amphitheater will be taking the place of long-standing residence halls McGuinn, Diamond, Wheatley and Cropper.

Angel Tolliver, a senior African American Studies student, is awaiting the new change but feels that it will ultimately infringe on the history of the university.

“The idea is good, but I feel like those dorms that were there before and the space that it will be taking up messes with the culture and history of the set,” says Tolliver.

The amphitheater will provide a space outside for different student organizations to comfortably host events. The new addition will be able to bring new innovations to campus such as an increase of wheelchair accessibility, green space and seating.

With students not being able to congregate on campus due to the virus, the overall objective for each project won’t be met until the pandemic itself can be contained and student life can go back to some form of normalcy.