Coyote Cafe closed for renovations
By Staff Sgt. Emily Alley, 190th Public Affairs
/ Published July 23, 2009
FORBES FIELD ANGB, Topeka, Kan. --
Put down your fork and grab a hardhat the next time you go to the dining facility!
Over the next year, the building will be gutted and renovated.
Lt. Col. Mark Green, armed with a massive scroll of paper that illustrates the future floor plan, directs the project through Civil Engineering, although the work will actually be completed through contractors. He said about six years of planning have already been invested towards this renovation.
Over the next year, Tech Sgt. Alike Peterson and the services flight will have the responsibility to feed about 900 people every month, all without a kitchen, set dining area, or permanent office. During the August UTA, this will mean boxed lunches. Throughout the rest of the year, Peterson is considering meal chits.
She thought about the strain on restaurants that accept meal chits for lunch and potential congestion at the front gate, but statistically only 60 percent of members who are eligible to eat at the dining hall tend to take advantage of it. Four hundred unit members usually eat off base during drill weekends.
Those who return to the dining facility after the renovation will experience an entirely different flow plan. Both the kitchen and serving areas will change. The street east of the dining facility will be permanently closed and converted into a walkway and outdoor dining area. Peterson and Green would like to make the entire facility more adaptable to the base's needs; it could be used for meetings, and as a lounge for events such as family day.
"We want to encourage people to eat here, and enjoy it," said Green.
Several practical innovations will take advantage of security and environmental initiatives. Thanks to ground source heat, it will be more than 30 percent more energy efficient. Kitchen appliances will be updated and new equipment will give younger services members an opportunity to apply what they've learned in tech school.
"The kids will probably have to show those of us who've been around how to use it," Peterson said.
The furniture is being donated to Army units and being replaced with more modern tables and booths.
Peterson is most eager to see the new colors. The green walls, paired with pink furniture, were a relic of the 1990s, the last time the facility was renovated. Peterson won't have a role in selecting new colors, though, because Green is leaving those decisions to the interior decorator.
"I figure, they have a degree in this sort of thing," he explained. "They know what they're doing."