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McDonald's Makeover: Construction under way for fast food restaurant

Press Photo by Nadya Faulx Construction was under way Saturday on a new McDonald’s restaurant next to the old facility on Museum Drive in Dickinson. The 7,500-square foot building will feature additional kitchen space and two drive-thrus, franchise owner Mike Kelley said.

The McDonald’s in Dickinson is getting a much-needed makeover, its owner said.

Construction started approximately three weeks ago on a new building next to the old restaurant, which, at 39 years old, can no longer keep up with the city’s growing demand for Big Macs, Egg McMuffins and french fries.

“From the front counter back to the kitchen, they’re pretty well wore out,” longtime franchise owner Mike Kelley said. “We need way more room, new equipment.

“At least I outlasted it,” he said, “which is amazing.”

The new one-story restaurant will feature updated equipment, more kitchen space for an increased staff and two drive-thrus, cutting down the ubiquitous line of cars that forms down Museum Drive every day around lunchtime. It will also feature additional parking.

At 7,500 square feet, the new Dickinson restaurant will replace Kelley’s Williston facility, which got its own revamp last year, as the largest McDonald’s restaurant in the region.

The current restaurant employs about 100 people, and Kelley said an additional 15 to 20 crew members will be needed at the new restaurant.

“We’re always hiring, just like everybody,” he said.

Second assistant manager Renee Urlacher said that even with the commotion next door, the crew is still busy.

“It’s kinda hectic,” she said. “You’d think with the construction everything would slow down, but we haven’t really.”

Urlacher has been working there for 20 years; much of the McDonald’s team has been with the restaurant for decades. She said it’s the first major change that’s happened since she started, but an “exciting” one given the growth in customers and business.

“Its been a gradual increase over the years,” she said, “but it’s still increasing.”

Sales have stayed up during construction — possibly due to customers’ curiosity about what’s going on, Kelley said.

“Everybody really wants to know,” he said.

Construction is expected to wrap up around Sept. 10, Kelley said. The old restaurant will most likely have to shut down for two weeks before the new facility opens in order for the team to train on the new equipment.