Connecticut Hall renovations lead to new dining experience

Jackson LaMarContributor

Big changes happened over the summer for Connecticut hall ranging from architectural to visual and even eco-friendly changes.

Conn. Hall received a renovation over the 2019 summer break which changed the first floor. The walls were painted several shades of blue, the carpet was replaced with new flooring and there is now a new front desk for workers to greet students.

The dining hall’s plans started this past spring, when the director of Residence Life, Robert DeMezzo, knew a change was needed.

“We looked at the first floor and realized we’ve never painted the walls,” DeMezzo said, “and it still had its original floor coverings from when the building was built.”

Southern hired an interior designer and worked with Facilities Operations to paint the walls and put in ceramic tile floor in place of the carpet that was there for sanitary reasons.

The kitchen also had a bit of remodeling, including a new dishwasher and a walk-in freezer. Resident dining manager, Edward Florczak, said he thinks this could lead to a better functioning workplace even if it is not apparent to students.

“It’s very exciting for us, it’ll help us do the work we have to do every day,” said Florczak. “Even though no one will see direct results from it, but the end results of the product [are] important to us.”

The new dishwasher allows the building to use less soap and water to clean dishes and silverware. The new walk-in freezer is not only larger than the old freezer, but the more modern motors and cooling systems will allow it to run more efficiently than before. Overall, Florczak said that with the up-to-date equipment, it will be “beneficial to the electricity cost and running operations cost.”

The changes in Conn. Hall are generally well- accepted by students, especially the eco-friendly portion. However, this does not change the question of food quality.

“I’m hyped about how eco-friendly the university is and how great it will be long term, but again, nothing is perfect out of the gate,” said education major Angela Tesky, a junior.

Multiple students at the university say they hope the food quality will continue

to rise. To hopefully appease the students, the university decided to bring in some new staff.

“We are bringing in a new manager as well,” Demezzo said. “He used to own a restaurant, so he has a huge culinary background as a chef.”

DeMezzo also said that the hours at Conn. Hall will be pushed to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Food quality and the hours of operation at Conn. Hall came up as top priorities during a survey that was conducted by Residential Life last year.

“If you live on campus for some time, you’ll hopefully see food service get better,” DeMezzo said. “The infrastructure and quality of food is very important to us this year.”

Students continue to have questions and concerns when it comes to Conn. Hall, but it is clear the university is trying to answer those questions and produce quality food service.

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