Campus center to receive extensive renovations

A blueprint for potential renovations to Reamer Campus Center showing enlarged dining areas and an improved loadng zone. (Courtesy of Steve Leavitt)

Since last spring, a programming and design process to renovate and add dining space to Reamer Campus Center has been underway.

Architects have been procuring information from both students and the campus community via pop-up polls and student focus groups.

The design will be completed by this June, and construction will begin in the summer of 2016. The project will be completed and ready for fall term 2017.

Dean of Students Steve Leavitt gave a few reasons as to why Union has chosen to renovate Reamer. He said, “We want to upgrade the dining experience for all students, with up-to-date serving stations and food choices. Upper Class will be a much more exciting place in which to eat. In addition, the dining situation in West is even more dated.”

The plan is to consolidate all dining in one place, so that everyone eats in the new Reamer, including first-year students.

Leavitt is excited about the project, stating that he believes it will greatly enhance dining for students at Union.

The plan also involves renovating the first floor of West Hall to provide a social space for first-year students there that does not include a dining space.

According to Director of Facilities and Planning Loren Rucinski, the process is ongoing and the current thought is to do a substantial renovation and addition to the 1987 side of the building.

He stated that “this would include adding on to the North side of the building for additional dining space, as well as adding on to the East side of the building to provide much needed ‘back of house’ space for the Dining Services food preparation and storage.”

Union also hopes to improve the loading area as part of the renovations.

Both additions will not have an impact on Jackson’s Garden and, in fact, will aim to improve student, faculty and visitors’ experience viewing the garden from dining areas, according to college officials.

Rucinski said the current concept shows dramatic changes to both Dutch Hollow and Upper Class Dining Halls. He stated, “The pit area in Dutch will be filled in, so the floor will all be on one level and the serving area will be increased in size. There will be new stairs (as part of the East addition) created, which will allow students to go straight up to Upper Class, where there will be multiple stations for different food venues located throughout the floor.”

There will be floor-to-ceiling windows along the entire back wall, overlooking the garden. Both dining areas will have views of the garden and multiple variations of seating types and arrangements.

The design committee for the renovations will be arranging design updates, as well as providing opportunities for students to supply feedback, try out various furniture samples and more.

There are currently five students named to the planning committee with plans to obtain more input from students as design discussions continue. Rucinski concluded that “the concept is to provide students with a dramatically improved dining experience, through many different food venues within the same area.”



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