Renovations are scheduled to be completed before the new academic year begins.
Jan 12, 2012
Year after year, Culinary Services strives to elevate the student dining experience. With the renovations to Nelson Dining Hall, they hope to do just that.
Two major changes will be made to Nelson Dining Hall over the course of the renovations. The current dining area that students are familiar with will be redesigned into a new banquet space to be used for private dining for campus groups and outside guests looking to use the space to cater an event. The previous banquet hall, often referred to as the "old side" of Nelson, will be renovated into an entirely new dining area for students.
It is no surprise that students prefer dining at locations such as Shively Court and West 82. During peak hours, both locations have students lined up out the doors, even during the bitter winter months, eagerly awaiting the fare inside.
Both locations are set up with a concept-based approach. This makes them similar to a food court, with various stations set up for diners to choose. This concept-based approach is one of the focuses of the renovations made to Nelson.
"We wanted to get away from the old look and feel of the dining hall and really open it up into something that was going to be a little bit more inviting to the guest, to the student and the experience," said Director of Auxiliaries Brian Thompson.
The newly redone dining hall will feature four food stations as well as an elaborate salad bar and espresso cafe. The new stations will include food influenced by Asian cuisine, popular Mediterranean dishes, traditional barbecue flavor and classic breakfast staples. The espresso bar, which will seat up to 50 people, will feature fresh and delicious caffeinated drinks.
Instead of the traditional Grab 'n Go setting that students are used to at Nelson, the renovated dining hall will be offering a carry out policy.
"We will give students a [container] and with one swipe they can go into the main dining facility area," said Thompson. "Going to each of the different main concepts, students can choose the variety of the product that they want that will fit inside of that carry out package."
This idea has been tested at both Jefferson and Boyd dining halls over the past year and has been very successful. Because of this success, the policy will be implemented at Nelson. It is hopes that doing so will allow for more student seating inside the dining hall.
Action for the renovations began to take place this past September. With the design plans finalized, construction crews began the demolition of the existing banquet space. Currently, new walls are being put up along the interior of the building, and new exterior windows are being installed.
Come spring, Nelson Dining Hall will be taken offline. However, the Nelson Market and Grab 'n Go will remain open for student use. To lessen the impact of a dining hall being offline, the hours at Shively will be expanded.
Thompson stressed that everyone involved with this project felt that it was important to "maintain operations without dramatically effecting the students' experience."
As most students vacate the campus for the summer, the entire building will be shut down to finish the renovations being made to the dining hall, market and cafe. The new and improved Nelson Court will be open to greet students for OHIO's first fall semester.
In the future, Culinary Services plans to make similar renovations to the remaining dining halls, Boyd and Jefferson.
"We have really progressed into a master plan that looks to elevate that student dining experience on campus," said Thompson. "We are proud to have done that with Shively through the concepts that we have introduced there. We look to do the same at Nelson, and the other halls as we continue on through our master plan."