Students living in the Cuarto dorms area may have to trek it a little farther to eat in May.
Starting mid-May, the Oxford Circle Dinning Commons will undergo a complete renovation. It won’t re-open until January 2010, sending students living in the Emerson, Webster and Thoreau dorms to the Castilian or on-campus DCs.
“We find that most of the students eat on-campus anyway,“ said Emily Galindo, director of Student Housing. “We feel really good that there will be sufficient seating to accommodate all the students [in the Castilian DC].“
Castilian’s DC will increase seating capacity for the last three weeks of spring quarter, as well as utilizing the space upstairs and extending hours to better accommodate the extra students.
Initial discussions for the renovation began three years ago. The project has an approximate cost of $7 million, which comes directly from Student Housing funds.
“We’re self-supporting auxiliary,“ Galindo said. “Through the framing of our rate structure, we set aside a certain portion over time that would allow us to do these major maintenance projects in the course of our business plan.“
Student Housing will also work toward making the project as sustainable as possible using the standards of Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which is part of the United States Green Building Council.
“LEED is a guiding tool or assessment to help projects to really make sure that they are being done as environmentally efficiently as possible,” said Mike Sheenan, associate director of Student Housing. “The campus uses LEED as a tool to help guide these processes.”
Student Housing will also strive to achieve LEED certification, through an application process with checklists of six different components with a point-system awarded for each category.
“What we will be doing is seeking LEED certification in terms of what types of furnishing will we be putting in there, flooring and the recycling content of those furnishings,” said Sheenan.
Heating ventilation, air conditioning and types of organic chemicals released also contribute to LEED certification status. To strive for this sustainability, DCs have already eliminated the use of trays this past fall, which has cut down on water and food waste, according to Sheenan.
Another aspect of the new DC will be its educational component where diners can walk through and observe boards with information about the sustainable qualities of the building and food services.
“One little action has a large ripple affect,” Sheenan said. “We want it to be an interacting environment and want the students to see how it’s being used and making an impact.“
Some students have mixed feelings about the renovations that will cause them to change dining locations.
“It’s best for them to just get it over with now. We’ve been here a while and it’d be bad for the next set of people. This can help them out a bit,” said first-year chemical engineering major Robert Zheng, who lives in Castilian South.
Student Housing informed residents of the renovations in an e-mail after they moved in, said Alex Stern who lives in Thoreau Hall.
“It sucks we don’t even get to benefit from it,” said Stern, a first-year physics major. “Going all the way to Segundo will reduce my studying time and that DC will be much more crowded too.“
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.