Committee approves plan for renovating, upgrading Findlay Dining Commons

November 19, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Board of Trustees Finance, Business and Capital Planning Committee on Thursday (Nov. 19) approved the final plan for renovating Findlay Dining Commons on the University Park campus, a project that will modernize the facility, update dining options and expand the space for eating and socializing.

Construction is scheduled to start in January 2016. The project includes renovating approximately 55,000 square feet or 45 percent of the building, which is part of East Halls and is located between Park Avenue and Curtain Road. The total budget for the project is $25.1 million, with most of the funding coming from Housing and Food Services reserves.

East Halls is the largest residential complex on the University Park campus, providing housing for more than 4,000 students — most of them first-year students. Approximately 7,250 meals are served every day in Findlay, which was built in the mid-1960s and last renovated in the early 1990s.

Ford Stryker, associate vice president for the Office of Physical Plant, explained that the renovations will reflect the latest trends in food preparation and presentation and dining experiences for students. The design of the renovated facilities also will dramatically improve the flow of traffic and better meet the needs of students.

Turner Construction Company is the construction manager on the project, and WTW Architects is the architect, both from Pittsburgh.

Features of the project include:

—   A floor plan that will improve the function and flow of traffic and free up space for a new open area that will serve as both a lounge and dining area. A new grand staircase and elevator, connecting the first and second floors, will be added. Seating on the first floor will be doubled from 125 seats to about 250.

—   Upgrading the “Big Onion” snack bar and “Good 2 Go” convenience store. A coffee shop, along with stations that serve breakfast all day and one that serves burgers and French fries, will be added.

—   A remodeled second floor. Students will have a choice of five a la carte options: sushi, a salad station, a deli, international foods and a pizza/pasta station. The area will also remain open 24-7 for students to study and talk, even after the food service has closed.

—   Private dining rooms, which will be available to student groups for meetings or informal gatherings.

—   A unique allergen-free station. The all-you-care-to-eat area and allergen-free station are slated to be completed in January 2017, with all other parts of the project scheduled for completion in fall 2016.

The Findlay Dining Commons project is part of the first phase of renovations and improvements planned for the East Halls complex.

The committee’s recommendation will now go to the full Board of Trustee for consideration Friday (Nov. 20).

Last Updated November 20, 2015