UNC Charlotte's Dining Services will renovate Crown Commons and temporarily relocate it to Upper Prospector starting April 1, 2023.

The Crown Commons renovation is planned to make it a more open and bright area for students to eat and hang out.

Upper Prospector will be closed from March 24 to April 1 for Dining Services to become a temporary Crown Commons for students and faculty. The restaurants currently in Upper Prospector, like Salsaritas and Sushi by Gusto, will be closed for renovation and reopen at the beginning of the fall 2023 semester.

"We had tried when we were going through the bid process for Crown Commons to fit it into like a May 1 through the end of summer, and they said there's no way we can do this big of a project in that type of window," Jody Thompson, director of Auxiliary Services said. "So that's why we had to back it up a little, knowing that we want to ensure that we're open for the fall.

"Crown Commons is getting a complete space lift," Thompson said. "When you get to the top of the stairs, it's very closed off, and you see those two doorways. We're going to open up that whole space, so you will be able to stand in the rotunda and see back through to the back patio. We want to make it as much of an open-concept space as possible."

They will also add an express lane for students with meal swipes to walk right through and swipe their cards. They will also be turning the big island area with the salad bar and pizza stations into two smaller islands off the side to maintain an open-concept feel.

Dining Services has also decided to extend the indoor dining area by removing the outdoor patio. This will allow more seating options, such as high tops or smaller tables. The tables will also have outlets for students to plug in and study.

"[The renovation] will have a to-go program where they can get pizza and burger items from the grill that are going to be on mobile ordering. I frequently hear 'bring back Crown to-go' because they love that. Also, we're expanding the sauté station in Crown so that it's more open for students to customize their dishes," Cynthia Torrence, director of dining services at Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, said.

Upper Prospector will be converted into a temporary Crown Commons during the week it is closed. Pizza will be where Mamma Leone's currently is, the sauté station where Salsaritas is, the grill station in place of Bojangles and putting the Crown-style deli where Sushi with Gusto is. The regular salad bar in the area will also connect to the Upper Prospector and the Gold Room.

Dining Services is in the process of setting up a Virtual Reality (VR) experience for people to walk through and experience the new Crown Commons design. The VR headset will be set up in the Popp Martin Student Union and inside Crown Commons for students and faculty.