Drake Owens, executive director of the NSU Foundation, and Steve Kauf, general manager at Sodexo, spoke at the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon on Feb. 20. They discussed some of the new additions to NSU, like Cafe DeMon and Chick-fil-A. Adding amenities like these to Northwestern’s campus benefits the educational and cultural welfare of the university’s students, faculty, and staff.
An exciting upgrade to the University Parkway corridor will be the installation of a push button, multi-flash pedestrian crosswalk at its intersection with North Street. Construction should begin within 2 months. Some of the sidewalk on the North Street side will need to be repaired and a sidewalk will be poured on the Watson Library side of the street. Owens said they’re close to getting the project permitted and approved and a public hearing will be held soon.
This is in response to increased traffic through the area with the addition of the new parking lot in front of Watson Library for better public access to Cafe DeMon, and the NSU Marketplace and Chick-fil-A across the street. Students will be able to access these amenities with the assurance of a safe walk across the busy street.
The university will continue to explore additional public-private partnerships, which is what will get NSU into the future and sustain the economic growth they’re experiencing now, according to Owens.
Kauf said he appreciates NSU’s open-mindedness toward these new partnerships. Having a coffee shop and restaurant that are open to the public as well as the campus, makes it a more viable business model in the long run. The Chick-fil-A is the first off campus, open to the public, licensee of its kind in the nation, according to Kauf. It served 25,000 nuggets in the first three days it was open, along with 450 gallons of lemonade.
Some upcoming projects NSU is working on include:
Partnership with City in regards to Parc Natchitoches and NSU Intramurals
Seeking more property along University Parkway to enhance/increase the footprint of the campus
Looking into what NSU’s role can be in the rehabilitation of the old ADM facility on Mill Street
Is there a need for more housing development?
Work is underway on a contract, which would bring a Steak n’ Shake to the Student Union