Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Victoria Brobst, Staff Writer
The renovations to the dining hall— soon to be “Canova Commons”— on the third floor of the Tompkins College Center began on August 18th, 2014, and are scheduled to be completed March 30th, 2015.
In the meantime, the Falcon’s Nest and general second floor of the TCC is serving as a dining area. Buffet style dining is offered in the Falcon’s Nest, and the “grab n go” temporarily transferred to the Cyber Café.
Some students have adapted to the change easily. Freshmen especially do not seem to mind. “I have been dealing with renovations well,” says freshman Sabrina Sacco. “It is crowded, but not overly crowded when getting food.”
Sacco usually dines in the Falcon’s Nest for lunch at noon. Sacco feels the changes have not been a huge inconvenience, but she is looking forward to having more room in the new dining hall.
Freshmen Natalie Capone and Kayla Iannizzotto agree that the renovations haven’t made them feel much different, but that sometimes it’s annoying waiting for food.
“I never really have trouble finding a seat… If it’s too crowded inside, there is always outside seating,” says Iannizzotto.
Capone offers her excitement towards the new dining hall, “It will be cool to see a new space. Although I haven’t spent much time in the old dining hall, besides Open Houses, the new one will be nice.”
Upperclassmen who have experienced the presence of a dining hall offer a different perspective. Junior Gerlie Loyola also says she has been dealing with the renovations fine.
“I kind of like it— in a way it makes the school less separated, since more people are forced to eat in a smaller, confined space. However, it does get pretty crowded traveling through places. I’m looking forward to the spaciousness of the Canova Commons, especially the quieter study areas. From working in Admissions, I think it will attract more people to our campus,” suggests Loyola.
Staff share a similar excitement for the renovations. Danielle Ortiz of Student Affairs has accepted the transition period simply as “an adjustment.”
“I usually ate at the Falcon’s Nest. Now, there are smaller choices, but they were the choices I usually picked.” Ortiz continues, “However, what the new space will offer will surpass anything before. It will be pretty amazing.”
Fran Boshell, assistant director of campus Residence Life, says “When the dining hall is up and running it will be a great facility for the college. During any renovation there is usually growing pains. I don’t really mind the situation right now, I am only more conscious about when I come to get food.”
Perhaps the biggest effect from the construction has been on commuters. For commuters who don’t have meal plans, the Falcon’s Nest was their go-to place for a meal or quick bite to eat between classes.
Sue Bin Lee, a sophomore and commuter, expresses her dismay, “I don’t have a meal plan, and paying $9 every day is too much. So it is really hard to get any good food choices because the Cyber Café only has about 10 choices you can choose from. I used to love getting the wraps or soup or pizza and now I cannot get any of that; I am limited. Also, I feel like the Cyber Café now lost its quality in the food too. So now I do not even eat at school and just go to nearby areas to get food, which is sometimes a big inconvenience.”
Although they feel inconvenienced, students and staff are exited for the new look. Lee can’t wait for the new seating, especially couches, and the cozy look and feel.
Matthew Yencha, Director of Facilities, reveals more details about the project.
Cedar Crest is able to remodel the dining hall due to a generous gift from Verna Canova, an alumnae. Upon her passing, Cedar Crest received a gift and a portion of that gift was identified for the renovations to the dining hall. The dining hall will therefore be named “Canova Commons” in her honor and to commemorate her generosity and memory. Specific monetary totals and values were not disclosed.
“The maximum number of seated guests will be 402, which is more than adequate for the typical events we host on campus. For events such as Open Houses we will have to review this on a case by case basis,” Yencha states.
As many have noticed from walking into the TCC third floor entrance, there is a new Dining Hall entryway where room 300 was previously located. Alcove A has been demolished and will be incorporated into the Dining Hall floorplan.
The soft seating and fireplace will be located the Northeast corner, also referred to as Alcove B.
The southeast corner, next to Alcove C, will feature a “Media Alcove.” The TV’s in the space will “primarily serve as digital signage, menu boards, interactive technology (Media Alcove and Alcove C) and for projecting images,” says Yencha. There will be TV’s with cable scattered throughout the Canova Commons, but they are not designed specifically for that purpose.
The wall that had previously separated the dining area from the serving area has also been removed. “This will create new serving spaces for the salad/soup/deli bar, drink dispensers, cereal, hot/cold food bar, etc. These changes will help spread people out so they are not all filing into the same location,” according to Yencha.
The Dining Hall staff has worked hard to accommodate everyone’s needs during the transition.
“The staff has had to be very creative with meals, space, and trying to ‘make it work.’ I think you are seeing them try and have more themed meals and adding things like the hydration station, grab and go grill items and offering a variety of options. Students on the 19 meal plan now have access to unlimited dining. This means the staff is serving students throughout the day,” acclaims Mary-Alice Ozechoski, Vice President of Student Affair & Traditional Enrollment and manager of the food service contract.
Sophomore Kaitlyn MacGrady and junior Jessica Minor expressed concerns about Dining Service’s ability to accommodate to health-related needs.
“Our options everyday are basically salads and sandwiches,” MacGrady and Minor confirm. “I feel like we pay too much for food that I could pretty much make myself. Right now the chefs are just too busy to make anything special for me,” says Minor.
Ozechoski expresses good news for those in the position of MacGrady and Minor: “After we re-open the dining hall you will find more made to order and display cooking by the staff. This will capitalize on their culinary expertise and provide students with items made right in front of them. We hope to have the unlimited meal plan option in the new facility. This means that students will be able to use the space for meetings, to study and to enjoy. The staff will [be] offering a wide variety of options each day. The new space and the Falcon’s Nest menus will be different each day. We want students to feel like there are a lot of options in both food and the dining experience.”
“I think the new deli/soup/salad grille upstairs will provide us with more choices, better nutrition, and specialized meals,” says MacGrady.
MacGrady and Minor are also concerned that the dining hall will be finished on time.
Cedar Crest students and faculty will have to remain patient and excited until the expected completion date, March 30th, 2015. The renovations to the dining hall are a very big change on campus. The Canova Commons will provide more dining options, greater technology, and comfortable seating with the intent of pleasing everyone.