Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Victoria Brobst, Staff Writer
On Jan. 20, 2015, on the first day of classes, students and faculty gathered in the TCC to discover a familiar entrance open once again: the newly completed dining hall, Canova Commons.
The Grand Opening was both a surprise and delight to the Cedar Crest community. The dining hall was newly dressed; the lights were dimmed, tablecloths draped the new furnishings, and the staff catered to each individual.
Different seating and varied table sizes provide an illusion of space contrary to that of the old decor. The fully exposed floor to ceiling windows gives the room a greater openness and better illustrates the view of campus. It also allows for a better flow to and from the various food stations.
Perhaps the most anticipated feature was the fireplace. Beautifully enclosed in glass, the gas fireplace is surrounded by comfy chairs and a stunning view. Conveniently located near the main entrance, it’s the perfect place to study. The former carpeting was replaced with a various woods and the ceiling and walls changed to a lighter color palate. The lighting was also upgraded— a trellis-like architecture was built in the middle of the ceiling, and hanging, cone-shaped lamps dot the room.
Prior to winter break, the completion date was still destined as March 30, 2015. According to Matthew Yencha, Director of Facilities, “The coordination and constant communication between Cedar Crest, Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects and Skepton Construction allowed for multiple activities to occur at once and helped push for a quicker completion.”
The renovations took sophomore Haley Triolo by surprise. “The grand opening was out-of-character fancy, it almost didn’t feel like the dining hall,” she said, “It’s way more modernized [and] totally surpassed my expectations. Even the food has improved. Not only is it more presentable, but the options seem healthier.”
Junior Kaitlyn MacGrady has a selective diet. MacGrady agrees with the difference in food, and notes that it is better seasoned, but she thinks some of the dishes are still too salty.
Dean Piacentini, General Manager of Dining Services, offers insight to the renovated taste. He says, “The old space limited us. We now feature the display cooking station which is more made-to-order and have some great ideas for the semester. We still feature traditional comfort food, but we’re able to display better and keep better due to the equipment. We’re also featuring healthier options such as grains, vegetables, vegetarian dishes, etc. Mobile chef stations will be brought out throughout the year for display cooking, personalized and themed meals.”
Junior Kaya Primus is impressed by the renovations (particularly the lighting) but still doesn’t notice any difference in the food. In terms of food, Primus thinks we’re just “back to where we were.”
Piacentini said, “The dining hall staff is always trying to improve. They’re excited about the new space and had orientation and training ahead of time so that it would be an easy transition. We are still currently waiting for new tables that are on back-order.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Mary-Alice Ozechoski, is also very open to hearing from students how to maximize the new space. She has gathered a lot of positive feedback and is excited that the new set up has worked well.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of Canova Commons is the accessibility. Students are welcome 24/7 to study, gather, and drink tea and hot chocolate. The TVs post the day’s meal offerings, campus reminders, and updates sponsored by campus clubs and organizations.
Verna Canova’s donations were put to great use. A sleek, comfortable space open to the community greatly enhances the campus’ atmosphere and will be enjoyed for years to come.