With the start of the University of Connecticut’s Fall 2016 semester, Putnam Refectory is once again serving students, especially those in the Hilltop community.
Closed to students since March, Putnam went through an extensive $12.6 million renovation project. The dining hall reopening comes at a time when approximately 760 students are now going to be housed in the newly-built NextGen residence halls, which is also located in the Hilltop area.
For this reason, the newly renovated Putnam offers a much larger amount of seating space. In particular, the dining hall is now made up of two floors, with food stations on both. In total, the facility is able to handle a full capacity of 700 people.
Besides increasing the amount of seating, the newly reconstructed dining hall also features several new amenities. One notable new addition is the juice bar and the action station.
Overall, student reception has been generally positive towards the newly improved dining facility.
“I think that of the dining halls I’ve been to, this one is definitely up there” first semester ACES student Chris Winkel said.
The ambiance of the dining hall has radically changed in contrast to its former setup. The dining hall now features a sleeker layout with many lounge style seating areas, which are designed to make it easier for students to study while eating.
One particularly unique feature is a wall which is lined with live herbs, which will be used in the dining hall recipes. The tray return system has also been drastically improved, which involves much less involvement from diners.
Megan Whitesell, a seventh-semester environmental engineering major, who has lived in Garrigus Suites, which is close by Putnam, both before and after the renovations, was particularly happy with the improvements.
“Compared to last year, Putnam dining hall has improved in having fresher tasting food, seating for varying group sizes, and having a conveyer belt for dishes,” Whitesell said “I know this is a ‘First World Problem’ but I am happy to not scrape my food off my plate and just drop and go.”
Besides for the dining unit, Putnam also has a Grab & Go station, which specializes in steak & cheese sandwiches.
“I would call Putnam dining hall "Pretty Putnam" - aesthetically beautiful, bright, and lively,“ Whitesell said.
Putnam Dining Unit is open on Mondays to Fridays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. and on weekends from 10:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Fatir Qureshi is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.