What was once an old gym is now a modern space dedicated to delicious cuisine. Masaryk University has opened a new canteen at the Faculty of Education. This is a great event for the faculty, its students, teachers, and other employees, as there has never been a canteen in the faculty’s buildings on Poříčí Street.
“We were really missing a canteen. As students we either bought refreshments from vending machines or we went to the Vinařská canteen. But that is pretty far away, and when we only had an hour in between lectures, it was impossible to make it there and back again and eat,” says Vojtěch Antoš, a student of Russian and history, adding that once the students see the modern, tasteful design of the new canteen and the food it offers they will be delighted. “Nine meals to choose from, that’s a really big draw. You don’t even have this kind of choice in restaurants that offer lunch specials,” he adds.
The canteen’s first day of operation demonstrated just how interested students are in eating at the faculty; a long queue formed immediately after it opened at 11:00 a.m.
Establishing a canteen at the Faculty of Education was discussed for decades. In 2015, a survey conducted as part of long-term planning efforts found that students and employees desired to have a canteen directly at the faculty.
“One of the most frequent comments we got in the survey was about the lack of a canteen and insufficient possibilities for eating nearby the faculty. A year later, the opportunity arose to use the catering equipment that that Accommodation and Catering Services had already purchased and the space of the gymnasium. Then talks began with the Department of Physical Education and Health Education, which used the gym. This was followed by a complicated search for funding sources to plan and build this project. To compensate the department, we renovated and fully equipped the gym and outdoor sporting ground at a neighbouring building complex, and now we are finally opening our canteen,” says Jiří Němec, dean of the Faculty of Education, describing the path to the new dining facility.
The total cost surpassed 40 million crowns, 34 million of which went directly to construction work and 3.7 million to catering equipment. The costs associated with building and equipping the canteen were paid for with subsides from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, with more than 40 percent co-financing from MU.
“When considering financing university projects, it is always necessary to select projects that make sense and are effective for students and employees alike. And because the Faculty of Education came up with an interesting concept and ideas, which would have a positive effect on life at the faculty, we decided that this project – including the renovation of the gym next door – deserved to be invested in. I’m glad that everything worked out. I would like to thank Dean Jiří Němec and his team for their efforts and for giving their hearts into the project,” said MU bursar Marta Valešová at the canteen’s opening.
Thank to collaboration with architects, a sophisticated, colourful interior was created. Particularly unique is the second floor of the canteen, which consists of a “footbridge” suspended from the ceiling. This second floor is home to the Student Club and is furnished with comfortable armchairs, coffee tables, and even several hanging chairs. It will be accessible to students outside the canteen’s opening hours. The canteen’s design, of course, also incorporates Masaryk University’s logo. Its design is so unique that many visitors might not notice it at first, even though it stretches across the enter first floor of the canteen. The space was designed by architect Petr Stojan, who has collaborated on buildings at several other Czech universities. The Faculty of Education’s canteen is his first job for Masaryk University.
Along with the building of the new canteen, the faculty’s courtyard was renovated. Here students will now find a terrace seating area as well as an outdoor drinking fountain. Thanks to careful planning, hardly any trees had to be cut down. Therefore, the Olga Havlová tree planted in 2018 still remains as does the young cherry tree planted by Josef Trna, the faculty dean from 2007 to 2015.