Dining Center prepares for increased on-campus population next semester


Photo: Beacon Archives

Students dining in the dining center in March 2019.

By Belen Dumont, News Editor

The college plans to relocate serving stations, provide more seating, and expand the hours of the Dining Center to accommodate for the influx of students who will need a meal plan during the fall 2019 semester following Little Building’s opening and the new three-year on-campus housing requirement.

Assistant Vice President of Facilities and Campus Services Duncan Pollock said in a phone interview that the college spoke to an architect about increasing seating arrangements to fit the approximately 2,600 students—800 more than this year—with meal plans next semester in the Dining Center. Pollock said the college will have a more definite plan of the changes by mid-April.

“We’re looking at expanding hours, we’re looking at a lot of options,” he said.

Pollock also said the college is in discussions with Bon Appétit Management Company about the increase in students with meal plans.  

Pollock said the college plans to change the locations of the serving stations—including a relocation of the salad bar—and the food the Dining Center provides.

“We’ll probably get some students involved if it comes down to furniture selection or food stations,” Pollock said.

President M. Lee Pelton said Whisky Saigon decided last month to end their lease with the college. Pelton said the upscale nightclub made a reasonably priced offer to end their lease, expiring in 2022, early.

“It’s most likely that we will convert a part of Whisky Saigon, which is adjacent to the [Dining Center]—we’ll convert some of that space into [Dining Center] space so we can enlarge the space,” Pelton said in an interview with the Beacon.

The area of the Dining Center and Center Stage includes 18,000 square feet, Pelton said. The Dining Center and Center Stage can sit up to 550 people, although there are only 360 seats set up currently, Pollock wrote in an email.

The Dining Hall was located on the second floor of Little Building before the college relocated it in fall 2017 to a larger space, now at 122 Boylston St.

“We went 9,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet, and we’re already bursting at the seams,” Pelton said. “I think that’s in part because the setting is much better, and the food and service is much better, the choices are much better.”