The University of Connecticut’s Whitney Dining Hall will reopen Monday morning after renovations to its interior and menu.
“Inspections will be done this week to make sure Whitney is operable,” Dining Services Executive Director Dennis Pierce said. “There are other last minute things that we need to do.”
Pierce said not all of the dining hall will be open until midweek, as more work is needed on the cafe, a dining room in the back that will have a coffee station and soft seating.
“The cafe will continue to be worked on until next week, but it will not delay the opening,” Pierce said.
The cafe is now a place where students can not only eat but hangout throughout the day, Pierce said.
The concept behind the redesign is “farm-to-table,” Pierce said. The goal was to give the dining hall a more natural, farm look. Changes include a skylight in the center, a plant wall like the one in Putnam, a double salad bar and an operating gas fireplace. There will also be more areas to get food besides the serving line and grill station.
“I am genuinely excited for the glass skylight and I feel like it's going to be really cozy,” fifth-semester psychology major Nicole Andrade said.
The new Whitney Dining Hall will also have some menu changes, Pierce said.
“There are more vegetarian and vegan options in addition to local items,” Pierce said. “We are going to serve drinks from a company called Tractor that are vinegar-based, similar to kombucha.”
Whitney will also stop serving drinks high in sugar, like Coca-Cola.
Whitney has not had a major renovation since its opening. Pierce said the renovations had been in the works for a couple years.
“We worked with the architectural engineering services on campus for a project manager and they got external architects to get designs, color scheme, etc.,” Pierce said.
Third-semester student Sam Bastille said he is really excited to see the dining hall updates.
"I have been going to South and the commute has not been bad, but I can't imagine doing this in the winter,” Bastille said.
Joshua Oculam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.