NAU Hot Spot, Gateway to be expanded in attempts to accomodate growing student body


By Clark Mindock

Go to the NAU Hot Spot at 5 p.m. and you’ll likely sit down pretty quickly, but if you show up an hour and a half later than that, your luck may have you waiting for an open seat. While waiting for a seat may not be as regular of an experience as waiting for a burger after that barely lucky patron in front of you snagged the last one, rising incoming freshman class sizes have prompted NAU officials to build a second floor in the Hot Spot.

“While we have not had many complaints, we have observed people waiting for a seat to free up and other [people] sitting on the stairs [to eat] at times.” said Agnes Drogi, director of planning, designing and construction at Northern Arizona University (NAU). “Additionally . . . we are unable to program activities in the Hot Spot. For example, we periodically like to bring in afternoon bands and at this time do not have the space to accommodate this.”

If all goes as planned, construction will begin outside of the Hot Spot in January 2013. Major construction on the project will begin just after students leave for the summer and will finish just before school starts again in August.

Students feel the construction is coming just in time.

“Two years ago, three years ago it was nice to go out to eat anywhere on campus but now it’s always busy,” said junior mechanical engineering major Josh Musich.

A second floor will add capacity for 300 more students, totaling 750 at a time.The retail space of the renovations will be roughly 3,000 square feet.

Attached to this project is an expansion to the popular late-night Gateway Campus Market.

The Hot Spot and Gateway additions, which will cost just under $5 million, are one of several projects on campus NAU has undertaken in recent history to handle the rising student body size. This semester, NAU opened The Hilltop and Suites Townhomes, which added 1,126 beds to the campus.

This spring, NAU will break ground on a new Science and Health building in the dirt lot between the Communication building and Liberal Arts building, just south of the Science Laboratory building.

With an ever-growing student body population, students can expect numerous changes to campus to follow.


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