The Baker Pattillo Student Center Dining Hall will be remodeled in the spring of 2020. While plans are still in the early development stages, it is planned to be finished by the fall semester of that year.
“It’s probably been about 11 years since there’s been any significant updating to the Student Center Dining Hall,” John Anderson, general manager of SFA Dining, said. “Eleven years seems to become dated pretty quickly. So, that’s probably the biggest reason for this. Just as things change, we want to make sure things stay current in the marketplace.”
On Oct. 30, SFA Dining met with students at the Food Committee Meeting to ask what students would like to see in the dining hall, including stations and menu items.
“Most of the design work is very preliminary,” Anderson said. “I can tell you, however, that floor to ceiling, wall to wall, it’s going to be redone. We’re going to have some level of outdoor seating, as well as both internet and charging stations.”
Carrie Charley, director of auxiliary services, said, “We feel that we’re missing out on one of the most beautiful views of campus. We need a better structure to see out and to bring the outside in, so probably new windows that are lighter, brighter. We agree that we should have variable seating, not all four-tops like we have in there now. We want to include opportunities to look out if you’re not outside, single and group seating areas, as well as new dishes and flatware.”
Most of the work will be done over the summer when the dining hall is closed, but it is likely to close for construction a few weeks before the end of spring semester. Due to this, there will be Grab N Go options in the Student Center C-Store, and the East College Dining Hall will have extended hours.
“We’re on a timeline, so we didn’t want to wait two more years and not have something new and fresh,” Charley said. “We’ve had a long-standing partnership with Aramark. As people can see from the last Board of Regents meeting, we added another amendment to our contract so that we’d have some funding for this project to do it right.”
SFA Dining also has plans for the Dining Hall that will aid students with dietary needs. “We’re excited about adding our True Balance Station, which will be an integral part of the overall new Student Center Dining,” Anderson said. “So, that’s a big piece of it.
More and more students coming in do have some level of gluten intolerance or some type of dietary need.”
According to Tiffany Gonzalez, marketing manager of Aramark, the True Balance Station is a health allergen aware station. SFA Dining felt it was important to include this, as 27% of the incoming freshman class has special dietary needs.
SFA Dining also has plans for a new dining hall, which is anticipated to be complete by 2023. Ground will be broken in the spring for a new residence hall. Once that is constructed, Hall 16 will be demolished and will be the site for the new dining hall.