An upcoming OU living option will include a gelato shop, a coffee shop, organic food choices and two workout facilities.
The Cross Neighborhood residence halls will consist of four buildings, each featuring four floors and amenities new to campus. It is scheduled to open in fall 2018, and it will be available for sophomores, juniors and seniors, said Dave Annis, associate vice president and director of OU Housing and Food.
“There will be quite a few amenities within the buildings themselves, and not just dining — a black box theater, workout rooms, a dance recital space, practice space,” Annis said. “It’s going to be really, really cool.”
A unique feature that Cross will include is Acre Market, a marketplace with several micro-restaurants and spaces where students can buy fresh fruit and produce. All the produce in Acre Market will be sourced from local producers within a 250-mile radius of OU, Annis said.
Students will be able to use the products they purchase in Acre Market to cook in kitchens located on every floor of all four of the Cross buildings.
The micro-restaurants will include a kebab station and a vegan and vegetarian station. It will be the first time on campus that allergen-free food, which accommodates the top eight allergies, will be prepared in an entirely different kitchen than the rest of the food, Annis said.
The other main feature of the new residence halls is the first “fast-casual” restaurant on campus, said Frank Henry, executive director of Food Services. "Fast-casual" is casual dining similar to restaurants like Panera, and it is a step up from Couch Restaurants or other dining on campus, Annis said.
While the restaurant will feature typical American food like burgers, salads and sandwiches, non-meat eaters will have access to an allergen-free section that features a juice bar, Henry said.
“We’re real excited about the restaurant concepts and what we’re going to be able to do with our first fast-casual (restaurant) on campus,” Annis said. “Having an allergen-free kitchen for students that is actually a separate kitchen from everything else we do, I think, is going to be very beneficial for students.”
Henry said Cross is also catering to “coffee snobs” through a partnership with Elemental Coffee, an Oklahoma City-based roaster. The coffee shop, which Annis described as “state-of-the-art,” will include new equipment located under the coffee bar instead of on top of the counter. This strategic placement was meant to create a simpler look and more of a connection with the barista.
Other than the food, Cross will also offer “club fitness” and a “sweat hut.” Club fitness will be a yoga and cycling fusion space that will offer class-based fitness opportunities, said OU press secretary Matt Epting.
The "sweat hut" will be more of a traditional gym area with various exercise equipment, Epting said. Although Epting said priority access to these gym spaces will be given to Cross residents, Housing and Food is working out details on its accessibility to other students as well.
Goddard Health Services will also run a clinic within the Cross village.
“Having a clinic right there that operates during the day ... What a great service for students instead of having to run to Goddard,” Annis said. “So having some of those things available is just cool.”
The first building should be ready in August, and the other three should come shortly after in time for the fall semester, Annis said.
“Having something fun like a gelato shop, I think, (is) really a world-class coffee experience ... and the Acre Marketplace is really going to be outstanding. We just have to get it all done in five months ... I think students will really warm up to it,” Annis said. “I think it’s great on-campus living.”