Louie the Saint, official mascot of Saints athletics at Seward County Community College, is on campus. Starting in October, he’s serving up coffee, snacks, and other convenience foods for students at Louie’s Place, located in the Industrial Technology Campus student lounge at SCCC. The new c-store style cafe opened for business early this week for students and team members.
“They were serving coffee and cinnamon rolls the other morning, and it was great,” said one student as he rushed to class. “I’m glad it opened.”
Louie’s Place occupies space once known as “The Snack Bar,” back when the Industrial Technology division was a separate entity — the “vo-tech.” As times have changed, the college and technical school joined forces, and students came and went. But the space intended to serve as a student lounge did not keep pace with progress. That changed last spring, when SCCC launched its Connections Trails project, starting with a walking path that connected main campus with Industrial Technology.
“One of our focuses at SCCC is to enhance the student experience,” said college president Dr. Ken Trzaska. “So, when we think the way our students must balance life, work, studying — and everyday needs like good food — we want to address that.” Trzaska noted that in many ways, the creation of Louie’s Place connects to one of the college key directions as set out by the executive team and the SCCC Board of Trustees.
“Promoting a safe and healthy campus is one of those key directions,” Trzaska said. “This goes beyond security measures to thinking of the whole person.”
Louie’s Place is a joint venture of SCCC and its contracting food provider, Great Western Dining, which helped chip in for improvements to the space. The cafe will offer hot sandwiches, pizza, multiple flavors of cappuccino, hot cocoa, custom-made fresh salads, and a wide assortment of “grab and go” foods in the refrigerated, freezer, and off-the-shelf displays.
“The idea is convenience, of course, but something that’s healthier and more satisfying than simply getting something from a vending machine,” said Jerry Odle, director of food services for Great Western Dining at SCCC. “We’ll have staff here to cook for patrons, and the hours will be expanded so that this is an option for students during those in-between times when the cafeteria is closed.”
“This is such a positive step for the students in Industrial Tech,” said Dean Travis Combs. “It’s really important for us to provide a space where students can catch their breath, socialize, or do homework.”
Louie’s Place is not just for students; community members are welcome to patronize the coffee shop, and relax and visit in the refurbished seating area that features cafe tables, living-room style furniture, an Apple computer lab, ping-pong, pool, and foos ball tables.
A Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting for Louie’s Place is scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 8. The public is invited to stop by at that time, and be on the lookout for free coffee coupons, and “Louie Bucks,” as well as reward cards offering free coffee for repeat customers.