The Collegian
Thursday, September 21, 2023

Dining hall nearly completed; other campus construction projects continue

Students at the University of Richmond are finally beginning to see the results of all the construction efforts and frustrations.

The Heilman Dining Center has undergone an extensive expansion and renovation. The servery and dining areas are essentially complete, but furnishings and decorative elements will be slowly added until Oct. 1, said Dee Hardy, the director of food and auxiliary services.

"We wanted the servery area to reflect things in nature," she said. "Textures, like granite, as well as colors."

The dining area also follows this theme, with the addition of cylinder lights on the chandeliers and cutouts from the preexisting walls in the outer sections of the dining area.

The new stations include Hemispheres, Piatto Bene!, Grains & Greens, Dolce Vita and Campus Deli. To accompany the dining hall's opening, 125 new recipes were created, Hardy said.

And if students have the time, dining staff can create "made to order" entrees such as stir fry. The option to have already prepared meals remains for those pressed for time.

The dining staff will need to adjust for the next several days because of the new kitchen equipment, Hardy said. There will be a rotation between the different stations as the staff becomes more accustomed to the new serving area.

Some students have noticed that things are not operating as smoothly, even though the kitchen equipment is improved. The tray return seemed disorganized, which has led to long lines of people waiting to leave the Dining Hall, sophomore Marissa White said.

The new convenience store in the dining hall lobby, Every Thing Convenience or "ETC," was due to open Aug. 28. The opening was postponed because of a delay in the delivery of specialty shelving, but Hardy hopes that it will be open within the week.

The University Post Office also has been relocated to the Heilman Dining Center. The space in North Court that formerly housed a part of campus mail facilities is now a new classroom, a number of offices and the Curriculum Resources Center for the education department.


In early August, the university broke ground for Lakeview Residence Hall, which will hold 141 beds in a suite-style format. It is projected to be complete for the 2007-08 year.

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Lakeview is the first step in the university's newly adapted Housing Redevelopment Plan, which has objectives that include extensively upgrading the residence halls, enticing students to remain on campus throughout their undergraduate education and ultimately enhancing student life. The Housing Redevelopment Plan will convert a number of residence halls, one by one, into either suites or apartments and is projected to continue through the 2012-13 school year.

The plan employs a three-tiered approach, including three types of housing that will allow students to become more responsible and independent throughout their four years at the university. Housing that's "socially integrated," or traditional style, will be an experience reserved for first year students. "Transitional," or suite-style, living will be made for second and third year students. Finally, "independent," or apartment-style, housing will be available for some third year and all fourth-year students.

The university also renovated Dennis Hall during the summer as part of the plan. The hall, which houses first-year men, has new lounges, a complete fire-suppression system and its first air conditioning system. The building's completion marks the first time all of university's residence halls are air conditioned.

Residential living will be enriched by providing more opportunities to connect with people of similar interests, said Steve Bisese, vice president for Student Development. The university has a few interest houses, including Global House, Outdoor House, the Civic Engagement House and the Arts Community in Keller, but Bisese said he wanted more themed housing options.


During the summer, construction on the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness has been productive, and the center is on schedule to open in January.

"We're now putting the final elements in place for the building exterior," said John Hoogakker, associate vice president of university facilities. "This will let us move inside to concentrate on interior features and finishes. We'll also be starting on the building's monumental entrance peristyle in coming weeks."


Boatwright Library is also undergoing a renovation of its B1 and B2 levels. The movement of the library's collection to high-density shelving will create space for new study spaces.

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