Future students may dine in a hall complete with a myriad of specialty foods, a pasta bar and even a grill.

Beth Dykstra
Stockwell Residence Hall, which will undergo renovation from 2006 to 2008, is one possible location for the new marketplace-style dining halls that were approved by the University Board of Regents yesterday. The other residence hall that is up for conside

The Board of Regents yesterday approved a $21 million plan for an innovative dining center that will be constructed on the Hill starting in 2006.

The new Hill Dining Center will be attached to a renovated portion of either Mosher-Jordan or Stockwell residence halls, which are also being renovated from 2006 to 2008.

The center will be designed to seat 700 students, and any University student will be able to eat there.

The new hall will feature between five and seven restaurant-style dining areas that will serve specialty and ethnic food, as well as offering healthier choices.

The 45,000 square foot area will include seating arrangements ranging from large open spaces to smaller, more intimate settings. A grill and pasta bar are among the options being considered, University Housing spokesman Alan Levy said.

However, the University is not planning on attracting brand-name companies to the menu. “We don’t intend to bring in branded entities. This is a marketplace concept that we will do ourselves,” Levy added.

“We hope it would be a place to gather students. I would hope that students would hang out in the dining hall,” University Housing Director Carole Henry said, adding that the new facility will have a more contemporary feel than the dining facilities on the Hill, which she said were outdated. She hopes the new dining center will possibly hold events on some nights, while on others it will be a social place complete with televisions, pool tables and other features.

A smaller facility, called the Emporium, will hold about 80 students with one or two restaurants that serve late-night food to be connected to the new structure or be located in one of the closed dining facilities.

“These changes reflect what students said was most expected of residential life,” Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper said.

The Hill Dining Hall is part of the Residential Life Initiatives, a broad effort led by University President Mary Sue Coleman to renew and improve housing conditions. Other RLI plans include the building of a new residence hall that will replace the Frieze Building and include suite-style rooms.

University Housing conducted a survey of 2,400 students and combined that data with the results of nearly a dozen focus groups and a study of 93 retail food outlets and 11 dining service operations by other universities.

Bursley and East Quad residence halls’ dining facilities will also be renovated.

 

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