Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s soccer drops season opener to Utah Valley in overtime -

Friday, August 28, 2015

UMass football notebook: Jackson Porter moves to WR, UMass schedules 2016 game with South Carolina -

Friday, August 28, 2015

Former UMass student who accused four men of rape in 2012 testifies during trial Friday -

Friday, August 28, 2015

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jamal Wilson returns from injury with confidence he is ‘main guy’ at running back -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Freshmen Sekai Lindsay, Andy Isabella impressing at running back -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass ranked in top 25 for LGBTQ students -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass football fall camp day five: Rodney Mills looks to continue bringing versatility to tight end position -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Route 9 Diner to reopen under new ownership -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rising UMass sophomore dies unexpectedly -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

UMass football fall camp day four: Veteran offensive line boasts chemistry, looks to improve run blocking -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A colorful UMass homecoming -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Potential nighttime and weekend parking fee at UMass tabled -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day three: Ex-quarterbacks A.J. Doyle, Andrew Verboys continue transitions to new positions -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day two: Defensive secondary hopes experience, added depth brings greater consistency -

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UM eateries to undergo renovations

Steffi Porter/Collegian

Renovations are on the menu for University of Massachusetts dining commons (DC) as Auxiliary Enterprises intends to spend $69 million revamping the facilities over the next six years.

The DCs, which serve over 40,000 meals a day and five million meals a year, are close to 50 years old and outdated, according to Executive Director of Auxiliary Enterprises Ken Toong.

Kitchen upgrades – intended to create energy efficiency – retail space, dining and seating areas are some of the changes Toong said members of the University community should expect.

The first area Toong’s plans will target is Hampshire Dining Common located within the Southwest Residential Area adjacent to the Kennedy and Coolidge tower dormitories.

Toong hopes to turn Hampshire DC into “something even better than Berkshire.” The renovations will begin in January 2013, and the DC will be “off line” until September 2013, according to an email from Toong.

While the renovations are in progress, students will be temporarily inconvenienced, said Toong. To minimize the impact, only one DC will be closed at a time during the six years of renovations, said Toong. However, students will be forced to eat elsewhere for the duration of the renovations.

Toong said that other DCs will have extended hours during these times, and that Auxiliary Enterprises plans to inform students at least three months in advance of any renovations. There will also potentially, be temporary seating and dining areas in other locations on campus.

“I think UMass is … getting overcrowded, so if they were to close the DCs, that would be really inconvenient,” said sophomore Madeleine Brennan. “It would make it hectic and time-consuming to eat a meal.”

Brennan, who was eating in the Blue Wall – one of the areas scheduled to be renovated – added that she was not sure the updates were necessary.

“I think the dining halls are great as they are,” said Brennan. “There are other places that need [renovations].”

Brennan said that she thinks the money should instead be spent on fixing things like broken sinks in her dorm building.

According to Toong, UMass dining intends to pay for the $69 million renovations with bond issues and from reserve balances saved over the years for future renovations.

Some students, though, do not think the renovations are worth the money or the temporary inconvenience, and said that the deemed outdated DCs are functional as they stand presently.

“I don’t want them to renovate at all,” said sophomore Jess Lennox. “The money can go to a lot better things, like classroom buildings. The library could use something new, but I think everything’s fine and these renovations are completely unnecessary.”

According to Toong, some students are unhappy because they believe the changes are happening “right away,” but he believes the three-month notice is an acceptable warning.

Junior Allie Connell, however, said she is excited about the prospect of better dining halls.

“I feel like the buildings need updating, especially Franklin, which is disgusting,” said Connell.  She also said the renovations are absolutely worth the money, but closing the DCs during the school year isn’t a good idea and would rather they did the updating at a time where it would not be an imposition on students.

Sophomore Deirdre Cedrone also said while the renovations “are worth the money,” she would rather see funds spent elsewhere.

“I think everything is great now,” she said. “I would never complain about the food. I think the school should focus more on tuition costs and stuff like that.”

Cedrone added that she likes the DCs the way they are, and that nothing really needs to change.

“I think in the long run it will be worth the money, but in the meantime it’s going to be a really big inconvenience,” said freshman Scott Clooney. “These dining halls are already crowded as is.”

The $69 million dollars will be spent between all DCs and cafes on campus. Hampshire DC renovations will cost $14 million, Commonwealth College Cyber Café will cost $1.8 million, Campus Center Dining will cost $11 million, Campus Center Concourse will cost $1.2 million,  Worcester DC renovations will cost $25 million, Franklin DC will cost $15 million and the Library Café should cost a projected $1 million.

Toong said he also aims to improve UMass dining services’ food selection and presentation. These improvements, according to Toong, will include better coffee, artisan bread at the Berkshire deli station, freshly ground peanut butter at Worcester and Berkshire DCs and a new menu for Baby Berk that features tacos.

“We want to make every meal the customer consumes an experience,” said Toong.

Berkshire has also made the recent addition of china plates, as part of Toong’s goal to make the dining experience more like “eating at home,” but one student feels it is an accident waiting to happen.

“I don’t think that was a smart move,” said Brennan. “I saw a kid who looked like he was probably a freshman drop two plates and a glass on the ground, and everyone started clapping. I think that’s just going to happen all the time.”

 

Steffi Porter can be reached at steffi@student.umass.edu and Sarah Fonder can be reached at sfonder@student.umass.edu

 

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