Renovation plans

Modern comfort, sleek finishes and traditional flair will all combine in the renovations that are planned for the college’s dining halls.

More than window-dressing, however, the renovation plans are substantive and critical to the dramatic improvements the college seeks to deliver for students.

Through strategic changes to the physical spaces, the college will create the foundation for providing a greater variety of food options for students and other members of the campus community, as well as improving the quality of the food itself.

Floor plan for Balfour-Hood Cafe.

A major goal of the renovation work will be to enable each of the college’s four main dining locations–Chase, Emerson, the Balfour-Hood Cafe and the Diana Davis Spencer ‘60 Cafe–to offer a distinctive menu.

The redesign of the Cafe in Balfour-Hood will enable the space to serve more students, faculty and staff, more quickly, as well as reinforcing the location’s new identity as a place serving local and sustainably grown food.

Chase Dining Hall is slated for a comprehensive renovation that will create a more inviting dining environment, and enable dining services to offer a greater variety of menu options at each meal. In addition to variety, the plan is to develop Chase’s facilities to provide students with more fresh, and freshly-prepared entrees prepared to the order of individual students.

The Chase renovations will begin with replacement of all of the building’s basic infrastructure, including kitchen equipment, plumbing and bathrooms, dish returns, and air handling units to improve the facility’s efficiency and make it more comfortable for students.

The layout of the space will also be changed to expand the physical and visual connections between Chase Round and Square, uniting the two dining rooms into a more cohesive environment.

Finally, the dining hall will feature independent cooking and serving stations for cooked-to-order meals, such as stir fry, pasta, burritos, sizzling salads and other entrees that allow students more choice.

By contrast, Emerson will retain its classic character and the renovations will update the much-beloved space so that it can offer more casual, cafe-style food options and serve as a gathering and event space for the campus.

The renovations in Wheaton’s classic dining hall will include the installation of new, flexible furnishings, updated lighting that makes the most of the hall’s wood paneling and casual, cafe-style counter service with check-out for students using Lyon’s Bucks or the new Lyon’s Swipes option at the exit from the service area.

Because of Emerson’s existing popularity as a hang-out spot, the college plans to make more use of the space for student events and gatherings. The updates will facilitate this new emphasis with an updated sound system and the installation of a dance floor.

Project Goals

  • improved dining environment
  • greater variety on the menu
  • emphasis on local and organic foods
  • new meal plan options