While students and faculty members were wrapping up their winter breaks, developers were putting the final touches on CSUâ€™s $3.8 million renovation project in the Braiden Hall Dining Center.
The motivation behind the improvement project was to modernize and expand the facility to feed more students and CSU community members and to create an inviting dining experience, Housing and Dining Service officials said.
Before the renovation, Braiden Dining Center served anywhere between 700 and 900 people each meal due to its central location on campus. Though numbers are not exact, quite a few more people per meal can be served now, officials said.
â€œIt was doing far more business than it was designed to do,â€ said Deon Lategan, the director of Residential Dining Services.
The dining center, which had only undergone minor renovations since its establishment, was completely gutted from the front seating area to the back of the house kitchens. The expansion will address the seating issues as well as increasing the kitchen freezer space and storage area.
When walking in to the new quarters, vibrant and bold colors: blues, greens, yellows and reds catch the eye. The lighting allows for a modern feel while the countertops and decorative accents allow for visitors to forget that theyâ€™re in a college dining center, HDS officials said.
With a menu rotation for each meal, students will now have about three to four choices for each breakfast, lunch and dinner. Before, students had about one to two choices for main entrees.
â€œThe menus vary and rotate each day,â€ said Rick Pott, who works in Facility Planning and Project Support for Housing and Dining Services.
An online ordering system is in the works as well. Students will soon be able to login online, view the menus and different options and order food for pickup upon arrival.
â€œWe also used this as an opportunity to use sustainable materials in many aspects of the construction,â€ Pott said.
The carpeting is made from plastic bottles, crushed sunflower hulls lay in the surfaces of the serving stations, and in the countertops are bits of crushed glass â€” some still with labels intact.
New energy efficient lighting and exhaust hoods hang throughout the dining center while a garbage pulper, used to compost food waste, was installed in the dishroom.
While working with students, Lategan and developers found that many students eat alone at lunch while traveling in larger groups for dinner. With this in mind, developers installed stools and single-area spaces instead of just large cafeteria-style tables.
Jessie Brown, an undeclared freshman who lives in Braiden, really likes the dining centerâ€™s renovations and the variety of foods now offered.
However, freshman undeclared major Nick Sung said â€œthereâ€™s just a little too much going on.â€
While he said heâ€™s thankful for more food options, he wishes that dining services would keep the late-night food option open on Friday and Saturday nights, since thatâ€™s when students need it most.
Staff writer Katelyn McNamara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.