The days of bland casseroles are slowly coming to a close at the University’s dining halls, starting with the new Hill Dining Center, which opened last week.

The dining center, the centerpiece of the newly renovated Mosher-Jordan Residence Hall, offers students “marketplace-style” dining, with stations serving stone-oven pizza, grilled sandwiches and rotating international dishes.

LSA freshman Michael Bull said he likes the Hill Dining Center so much that he regularly eats there instead of at Markley Hall, where he lives.

“This is amazing compared to the Markley cafeteria,” he said. “The Markley cafeteria is nothing compared to this.”

The two-year, $65-million renovation to Mosher-Jordan is the first large-scale project completed under the Residential Life Initiatives, an effort to reorganize campus dining and modernize residence halls.
Housing officials have said they plan to move toward a system with fewer cafeterias, in part to curtail rising costs, while serving more students and offering more food choices at each dining center.

Three years ago, campus’s Hill neighborhood had five cafeterias: at Markley, Couzens, Alice Lloyd, Mosher-Jordan, and Stockwell halls. When renovations end on Stockwell next year, the Hill Dining Center, overlooking Palmer Field, will serve a total of four residence halls.
The next “marketplace” dining center is slated to open in fall 2010 at the new North Quad Residence Hall, under construction on the corner of State and Huron streets.

Mosher-Jordan Hall, built in 1930, also received a modern facelift, but University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said many of the residence hall’s new features — new electrical wiring, plumbing and heating — aren’t visible improvements.

“I think two things students will notice is that Mosher-Jordan has central air-conditioning throughout, and it has wireless Internet throughout,” he said.

Logan said removing the old dining area and kitchen out of Mosher-Jordan opened up space for more community areas.
The residence hall also features two new living rooms with full kitchens. The most notable difference in Mosher-Jordan’s individual rooms is the modular furniture — an upgrade that most other dorms have had for years.

LSA sophomore Matt Hillyer said the renovated Mosher-Jordan has a “classier” feel than Couzens, where he lives. “Everything being updated, it looked really nice,” he said. “It seemed nicer, not like a regular dorm.”

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