Matt Murphy –
This summer will see the renovation of Cummings Dining Hall in Caine Student Center, true to Chartwells’ promise back in the Spring of 2014. Illinois College renewed their contract with Chartwells after they promised to do multimillion dollar renovations of all of IC’s eating establishments. Last summer, the grill and the coffee shop were renovated part of the first phrase. Now, in the summer of 2015, it is Cummings’ turn to undergo a huge makeover.
Work on the Cummings Dining Hall will begin May 18, the day after commencement. According to Joe Werts, Director of Food Services at IC, everything about the dining hall is going to change. “They’re tearing everything out. New design plan, new menu, and new stations.”
Everyone is going to note an immediate change when they walk down the hallway leading to Cummings Dining Hall. Instead of going all the way down to get their cards swiped, they will be greeted by the cashier at the end of the hallway. Instead of having to guess what’s on the menu by a piece of paper, big TV’s like the ones in the Rustic Range and Mondo’s Subs will be hanging over most of the stations to clearly advertise what is on the menu.
There are several different types of stations that the new dining hall will offer. The first station is My Pantry. My Pantry will take the place of the cashier register and will be similar to what the dining hall has now with the cereals, fruits, milk, and waffles. Werts said that design will be similar to a home kitchen. Then, there is a new station called the Action Station, which is similar to Menutainment, but it will be designed for students to cook up things such as grilled cheese sandwiches and omelets.
The serving counters will also be different. The boring, straight counters are being replaced by a snaking pattern. Eat.Learn.Live will be apart of this snaking counter scheme. The Eat.Learn.Live will be what the Menutainment is now. The pizza station will now be called Hearth-Stone Oven. Pizzas will be made using a, surprise, hearth-stone oven, but that is not the only thing going to be made in that oven. Not only can people get breakfast pizza and personal pizzas, but people can now get fresh cinnamon rolls, fresh dough, and other new items from the hearth-stone oven. The salad bar will now be located with the other stations listed above, and will now give people the option to toss their salads.
Out of all the food stations, two will be located within the actual dining area. The dessert bar will now face towards the dining area and will offer a variety of cold and hot desserts. The next station calls for removing part of the wall that sits in between the serving and dining areas so that people can now look either at the serving stations or the dining area. The station that will be in its place is Baker’s Crust. Baker’s Crust is the sandwich station that will now face out towards the dining area.
The dining area will now have a multi-purpose floor to better accommodate the numerous activities that take place at Cummings Dining Hall. The beverages will still be around the removed wall, but an additional fountain drink station will be located where the old sandwich station used to be. When people are done dining and socializing, people now put their dirty dishes on a conveyor belt system.
The new dining hall is also turning green. Instead of throwing all food away, Chartwells is installing a decomposer to quickly turn waste into fertilizer, which can now be used across campus and in the biology department’s greenhouse. If enough fertilizer is generated, they could sell it to people in the community. Werts estimates that this new decomposter system will eliminate waste by 80%.
Another part of the new “green” Cummings Dining Hall is that the to-go containers will now be reusable. Students can keep the to-go containers, wash them, and bring them back to the dining hall. If students have had their containers for awhile, students can take them back to the dining hall and exchange them out using a token system.
Joe Werts is really excited about the changes that will be happening. “The continuous meal plan was made for this vision that students can come in any time of the day with all of this at their fingertips.” Werts expects construction to be done August 1, right before most fall athletic teams will be moving in.
Matthew Murphy, from Girard, Illinois, is a junior majoring in Biology with a Mathematics minor. Matthew is the president of Parker After Dark, and participates in Cross Country and Track and Field.