UMC holiday hours

Through Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jan. 1 through 3: Closed

Jan. 4: Return to regular business hours

More info: umc.colorado.edu

During winter break the University of Colorado campus is uncharacteristically bare for nearly three weeks between the fall and spring semesters.

But this year, CU's University Memorial Center has seen an increase in food services during the break from last year, thanks to the recent renovation of the grill and dining areas.

Jimmie Baker, associate director for the UMC, said the $2 million remodel, which was completed this fall, is already bringing in more visitors to the Alferd Packer Restaurant & Grill and Baby Doe's Coffee & Bakery.

"The new construction helped this year," Baker said. "Before we could only open the grill or Baby Doe's most days, but now we offer both with the same staff as last year."

With more options to choose from, Baker said more faculty, staff and even a few student stragglers are visiting the UMC for lunch or coffee breaks than last year during the break.

Mike Paige, who works in CU tech support for the physics research department, said he was glad to see a coffee shop opened on Tuesday morning when he took a short break in the UMC before heading back to work.

"I work support for the grad students doing research in the department," Paige said. "They never really take a break and if they're here, I'm here."

Paige said it's nice not to have to fight crowds of people in the UMC for a change, but he'll be glad to see students returning to campus throughout next week.

While the food and coffee services at the UMC are up, overall traffic is drastically down during the break weeks from the fall semester, Baker said.

"I'd say we're seeing about one-tenth of the traffic we normally see here during the semester, if even that much," Baker said.

The few professors and students remaining on campus during the holidays are taking advantage of a quieter-than-normal atmosphere to get a head start on the spring semester.

CU journalism instructor Dan Schaefer said he's using the break to finalize his spring syllabi and get some personal projects finished that he doesn't have time for during the semester.

"I'm doing some work but also recovering from the fall semester," Shaefer said.

CU senior Catherine Nelson said she spent most of last week with her family who came to visit her in Boulder and is planning on using her remaining time off to find a part-time job for the spring.

Catherine Nelson, a senior art major, works on an animation project in the computer lab in the University Memorial Center on Tuesday.
Catherine Nelson, a senior art major, works on an animation project in the computer lab in the University Memorial Center on Tuesday. ( Paul Aiken )

"I might make a short trip into the mountains before school starts, but mainly I'll stay around here and get some things done," Nelson said.

For other students like CU junior Raymond Klucik, winter break is a time to get an early start on studying for spring classes, which begin Jan. 10.

"It's going to be a tough semester so I want to get my books and start studying early," Klucik said.

Klucik said after visiting his family in Golden for the holidays he's spending a little time between studying checking out the parts of Boulder that he rarely has time to see during classes.

Klucik said the quiet "ghost-town" that Boulder becomes between semesters makes for a great time to check out the city and recoup before diving into another busy spring.