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Hampshire Dining Commons: Two weeks until closing

Cade Belisle/Collegian

The Hampshire Dining Commons will shut down for renovations at the end of the semester and will reopen in mid-August of next year.

According to Ken Toong, the executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises, Hampshire’s current facilities are outdated, energy inefficient and poorly designed.  Parts of the facility, including the conveyor belt used in the dish return area, are so outdated, he noted, that finding parts for repair is becoming difficult.

“With the upcoming honors college (complex) for 1,500 students, we need a new facility to accommodate the influx,” Toong said, referring to the new Commonwealth Honors College Residential Complex, which is slated to open next fall.

Hampshire, which was built in 1965, will be updated to include a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, which is an “internationally recognized green building program,” according to the program’s website.

As a future LEED-certified building, Hampshire’s renovations must adhere to certain conditions imposed by the U.S Green Building Council, which aims to promote the construction of buildings that are ecologically friendly.

Toong described the new dining commons as a “state-of-the-art dining facility,” but one that “will retain a New England theme.”

The facility will be built with an open view and an oval-shaped layout. According to Toong, Hampshire “will be the first dining common in the nation with this type of design for efficiency.”

Toong also said that a “retail market or bistro” will be installed in the downstairs portion of the facility.

According to Toong, the renovation will cost about $15 million and the workers at Hampshire will be dispersed to other dining facilities to “minimize any inconveniences.”

The news of the impending closure, though, has concerned some students, who worry that the other dining facilities might become overcrowded.

“(Berkshire Dining Commons) is already a mad house and now it’s going to be a zoo,” said sophomore Matt Martel.

But Toong said that UMass Dining will “monitor the dining need of [its] customers during the renovation process” and that a plan has already been created.

The Berkshire Dining Commons, he said, will open each day at 7 a.m. and close at midnight – a move that will allow students access to food at the facility at an earlier time. The Southwest Café, located in the Hampden building, will transition into a “Grab n’ Go” station as well as a buffet during lunch and dinner times, Toong said.

And the “Grab n’ Go” at Berkshire will have extended hours to accommodate students’ needs, he said.

Two food trucks will also be placed outside the Southwest Café during traditional lunch and dinner hours, Toong said.

Mitchell Scuzzarella can be reached at

One Response to “Hampshire Dining Commons: Two weeks until closing”
  1. Dr. Ed Cutting says:

    The last line is the most relevant — two food trucks will be outside SELLING food to kids who have already paid for food.

    Welcome to UMass where students are a fungible resource….

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