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Engineering a fast food plan

If one determined student gets his way, students who frequent the engineering side of campus may soon have a new place to grab a bite to eat between classes.

Nuvala Fomban, a graduate student in the College of Engineering and a Student Government senator, is pushing for a new restaurant for engineering students. He is hoping for something along the lines of a Chick-Fil-A, Subway or Taco Bell.

“I don’t know why there is no restaurant; (I just want) something convenient,” Fomban said. “(It’s) a problem of need, not want. We need somebody to emphasize that.”

The only dining facility close in proximity to the engineering building is the Express Shop, a small store that offers sandwiches, snacks and coffee. It closes at 2 p.m. during the summer, which adds to Engineering students’ woes.

“It’s a joke,” said Andrew McEwen, an industrial engineering major. “It’s like half a gas station (mart).”

The building also has vending machines, one of which offers hot food, but the next closest food source is the Phyllis P. Marshall Center.

“We have to walk so far, you might as well drive off campus (to get something to eat),” engineering student Kosol Son said.

Fomban has been researching possible franchises and building plans since February. He recently met with Jeff Mack, the assistant vice president of Campus Business Services, for a preliminary meeting. Mack said there are a few key factors that need to be considered with this type of project, including space, funding and the feasibility of a venue in this location.

There are plans for a 1,000-bed residence hall near the engineering building. The hall would include a dining hall and possibly a convenience store.

“We need to look at all different aspects of what can help that area,” Mack said. “We’re anxious to do whatever we can do to expand our food service on campus.”

Two franchises opened on campus in 2003: the Starbucks located in the Library and Burger King, which is located behind the University Lecture Hall. The combined cost of construction of the facilities was approximately $1.6 million – $316,000 and $1.3 million, respectively.

Aramark, the company in charge of USF Dining Services, has the final say in which restaurant, if any, will be added. Fomban is proposing it be either an extension of the Express Shop or to have it constructed on open space near the Kopp Engineering Building.

Since nothing is official, the project has no timeline. Fomban said he plans to see it through until the end – even though he will be graduating in spring 2007.

“It’s a personal dream, a personal project. I will do everything to see it happen,” Fomban said. “It has to happen before I leave USF.”


Fomban is pushing for a Chick-Fil-A, Subway or Taco Bell for engineering students.

When Burger King and Starbucks were built in 2003, the cost of each project was $1.3 million and $316,000, respectively.