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Kansas Wesleyan University

In the midst of a semester that has seen record spring enrollment, Kansas Wesleyan has announced a significant change to its Bieber Dining Hall (bon appétit) project. The university will now renovate its current dining facility and use the formerly planned dining hall site as student parking.

“It is well known that KWU’s enrollment growth has increased exponentially,” said Dr. Matt Thompson, KWU president. “Projections show that growth continuing to be dramatic as we go forward, so we knew that we needed to act quickly. Renovating our current facility and adding student parking can be done faster than building an entirely new venue; thus, it better prepares KWU for its next stages of growth.”

KWU will begin renovations on the current Shriwise Dining Hall as soon as possible. That, in fact, was a critical factor in this process.

“Our initial work showed that the earliest we could open a newly built dining hall would be the spring of 2026,” said Thompson. “The first phase of this revised project should be completed by the fall of 2024. When paired with the ability to add student parking, and to do both at a price that made financial sense for KWU, the way forward was clear.”

The other key factor was financial, as initial bids for the project came in significantly higher than expected.

“We have a responsibility to act in the long-term interests of our university,” said Thompson. “When initial bids came in substantially higher than planned, we took time to consider a way forward and found this to be the best solution. We then sat down with Jeff and Margie Bieber, the lead donors for this project. They were very flexible and willing to make this change for the betterment of KWU. We are deeply appreciative of that and believe we have found a great solution.”

As renovations commence, new seating will be added, including long, narrow tables with stools on a second tier inside. The entire interior of the facility will be expanded and renovated. A patio area will be added to the east of the building, between the current location and Sams Hall of Fine Arts.

A second phase of the project, set for completion in the summer of 2025, will include complete kitchen renovations that will bring the current dining facility fully into its new era.

“A new dining hall is an important asset for the future of Kansas Wesleyan,” said Jeff Bieber ’71, whose gift provided the impetus for the project. “I remember that meal breaks were something I always looked forward to as a student. They enabled me to take a few moments to forget about class concerns, student requirements and other pressures, and simply to enjoy time with good friends. I’m pleased to be able to help provide an enhanced and expanded location, but more than that, I’m excited about the future of Kansas Wesleyan. The legacy of our beloved KWU is strong, and I’m proud to be a part of it being even stronger for future generations.”

The new facility will be known as Bieber Dining Hall, with the full name of the eatery inside being Shriwise Café at Bieber Dining Hall.