Upper Dining Hall remains closed for remainder of academic year

Allyson Bennett, News Editor

According to an email sent to the campus community on March 10th, Upper Dining Hall will remain closed through the remainder of the 2022-2023 academic year. Upper Dining Hall was originally located in Reamer Campus Center, a building that also houses 4 other dining locations, the campus mail room, administrative offices, and the campus bookstore. Currently, the Upper dining hall is located in College Park Hall’s ballroom, a building far away from most of the buildings and classrooms.

“The damage to Upper Class is so extensive that even the most basic repairs needed to get the facility open in the short term would likely take through late April or early May to complete,” Annette Diorio, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and Scott Jones, Vice President for Administration and Finance, said. 

This closure along with the location of the new dining hall has caused an inconvenience for students. To offset this, every student on a residential meal plan was provided an additional $50 in declining balance. Declining balance can be used in most dining locations such as Dutch Hollow, the 807 Deli, and in the Bookstore for a variety of food items. The Rathskeller has opened for lunch on weekdays which previously opened only in evenings. Students are able to change their meal plans at any time during the Spring term, when previously students were only able to change them until week two. The dining staff would also provide multiple “pop up” dining locations, which primarily serve food not usually available in permanent dining locations, across campus. 

Meanwhile, workers are currently working in the Upper Dining Hall to repair the damage and renovate the building. On April 2nd, a design of a renovated Upper Dining Hall was showcased in Reamer Campus Center. This design showcased a modernized Upper Dining Hall, different from the dining hall before it flooded. 

In the meantime, students will be unable to access Upper Dining Hall in Reamer Campus Center until the beginning of the fall 2023 term, according to Marc Donovan, Director of Facilities and Campus Development. However, when  Upper reopens, Union staff plan to improve students’ experiences in comparison to before the flood. Before the flood, Reamer Campus Center “had previously been scheduled for a multimillion-dollar upgrade over the summer as part of our long-range plan to improve the campus dining experience,” according to Annette Diorio, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and Scott Jones, the Vice President for Administration and Finance. 

“The goal of the renovation is to diversify options at every level from creative food stations, dynamic seating variety, and a redesign that promotes efficiency and operational improvements.” Marc Donovan, Director of Facilities and Campus Development, said. “Our goal is to create many new stations but in a way that we have less of an assembly-line type of dining experience. Each station will create a full experience if you so desire or allow the flexibility to mix and match without ‘jamming up the line’. In addition to that, we’re aiming to improve the queues at common hour lunch by increasing seating capacity in the dining facility… We’re bringing in a variety of seating options with less of the large tables, but more diverse seating options with high and low tops, long and short tables, and more smaller table seating options… Overall, all of the considerations are aiming to largely enhance the dining experience at Union College for all of our community.”

Upper Dining Hall remains closed for remainder of academic year

Currently, students are able to dine in Upper Dining Hall in College Park Hall, with the remainder of dining options available without restrictions.