Dining Commons To Receive Major Renovations
A new campus dining experience with more food options, updated equipment and multiple seating environments awaits Alma College students in 2013.
Hamilton Commons, Alma’s primary dining facility since 1968, will receive major renovations and a 6,000-square-foot addition that will reflect current trends in college food service and increase seating capacity by nearly 25 percent.
Full-scale work on the $4.5 million project begins the day after commencement in April, with completion by the start of the fall semester, says Dave Buhl, vice president for business affairs.
Artist's rendering of the addition to Hamilton Commons.
“Students today ask for more fresh, organic, vegetarian and vegan food choices, which are difficult to provide in a cafeteria-style facility,” says Buhl.
“We are building an addition that will not only address food service at Alma College but also provide enhanced social space beyond traditional dining, with Wi-Fi, a fireplace and multimedia capabilities.”
Food service will “look cooler,” with more food and food delivery options, says Buhl. A gas-fired stone hearth oven and new wok stations will allow students to see vegetable and meat choices, with meals prepared in front of them in a matter of minutes.
The facility also will feature a permanent vegetarian station with a vegan overlay, a traditional grill for burgers and fries, a comfort food station, improved salad and dessert bars, more access to beverages, and an improved recycling area.
“As a residential college, our food service impacts more than 90 percent of our students everyday,” says Buhl. “Prospective students considering their college choices look at where they will eat along with academics and housing. Our strategic plan addresses food service as a key component of the quality of student life on campus.”
The Hamilton renovations will allow for more food options.
The project will create four diverse seating environments complemented with specific furniture and color schemes, says Buhl. The overall seating capacity will increase from 350 to 450.
“The different environments will make the facility feel larger, with students not all jammed in one room,” says Buhl. “We will have a combination of very traditional space along with very contemporary space.”
Renovations to the traditional commons will include opening the ceiling up to the roof, eliminating large round tables and adding high-density tables for large groups in the areas closest to the food. Eating areas will be carpeted, while food preparation areas will feature stone tile.
The large addition will be constructed on the west side of the current Hamilton facility. Built at ground level, the addition will have a two-level seating area with stairways and ramps to a lower level. The addition will be separated from the larger group eating area and will feature primarily small tables for two to four people and a fireplace area highlighted by wood décor.
Two additional seating environments include a high-backed booth section and a glass area looking out toward the lawn and Bruske Hall, equipped with multimedia presentation capabilities for students and faculty meeting for group functions.
The current lowel level of Hamilton, which houses the Student Services Center, will remain unchanged, though the stairway at the main entrance will be renovated.
The project is supported by Sodexo, Alma College’s food service partner, which is paying half of the construction costs. The remainder of the project will be funded through the sale of bonds.
The Collaborative (TCI) was selected as the architect for the Hamilton Commons renovation, which is currently in the design phase. The construction contract will be awarded in February, with preliminary work to begin in March.
Hamilton Commons is named in honor of Roy W. Hamilton, sixth president of the college (1943-46). The composer of Alma's alma mater, Hamilton came to Alma as a professor of English in 1919 after serving in the Army during World War I. After he left the presidency, he taught English at Alma until his death in 1952.
Posted: Mon, December 3rd, 2012 at 4:16PM