The upstairs, which hasn’t been updated in 25 years, undergoes aesthetic and operational changes
By Gina Glantz
Over the summer, Kutztown University renovated the second floor of the South Dining Hall for the first time in 25 years, making aesthetic and operational changes.
Aesthetic updates included a new floor, fake bricks, new salad bar lines, Golden Bear artwork at the dining hall’s entrance and new paint to make the hall look bigger and brighter.
According to Desiree Reasoner, Executive Director of Residence Life, Housing, and Dining Services, the university renovated the second floor to match the aesthetics of the first floor.
To help with daily operations, Kutztown lowered the Sizzle grill to be more accessible for people who use wheelchairs and allotted a bigger space for new cooking features. The University also added new furniture. New individual tables replaced the long, white tables.
The university also updated the cooking and heating equipment for temperature regulation and energy renewal.
The Dining Hall Renovation Committee, who planned the renovations, included dining administrative staff Desiree Reasoner, Alec Leidy, and Derek Hess. Chris Wallace and Stacey Cesanak with Aramark also participated. The committee invited student Chris Scarmack to attend the initial planning meetings as well.
According to Reasoner, the project’s contractor was Michael Walsh and STV Inc. did the renovations.
Reasoner stated the renovations were completed through multilayer teamwork between herself and her teams.
Plans to update South started in the Summer of 2022. The team met with the design crew in September 2022 but pushed off renovations until May 2023 because the project was more expensive than they originally planned.
Physical construction started on May 15, 2023, and ended before students returned for the Fall semester.
Kutztown University spent $1.8 million on the changes. According to Reasoner, the dining hall receives money through students’ meal plans, and whatever isn’t utilized by the end of the year goes into a reserved savings account. Reasoner states, therefore, that the university did not take out a loan or increase meal plan fees because of the project.
Kutztown University renovated Cub Cafe 7 years ago, which is why they did not renovate both dining halls.
Reasoner said the university will continue doing renovations to food vendors on campus in the near future, though not to the extent that South received.
“Starbucks will be renovated this summer, then we’ll go to the Academic Forum”, said Reasoner. The university is planning these renovations for aesthetic reasons and to prevent the location’s looks and equipment from becoming outdated.
Despite the large change to South Dining Hall’s second floor, the company that provides the food, Aramark, is still the same. Reasoner stated that Kutztown will be with Aramark for another six or seven years.