Letchworth dining hall scheduled for remodeling

Letchworth Dining Hall is set to undergo an extensive $16 million renovation beginning this summer and concluding just before the fall semester of 2014.

The full-gut renovation will involve new open-concept floor plans meant to improve the student dining experience as well as an extension to the building's first floor.

According to Mark Scott, executive director of Campus Auxiliary Services, the goal of this renovation is to create a space that is "truly visionary and something we'll be able to hold up as a pride point for the campus as a whole."

In keeping with this goal, the dining hall will feature top-of-the-line spaces separate from dining services that are designed to serve as meeting areas for clubs and campus organizations. These spaces will include comfort seating as well as audio-visual capabilities. Scott also discussed the possibility of a late-night bakery and cafe service that would be open to students gathered in these meeting areas.

Letchworth's first floor will undergo changes to its floor plan as well as the variety of foods sold. The new first floor dining area will include a pizza station, deli and grill area. Along with coolers for grab-and-go meals and beverages, there will be racks for pre-packaged foods. The first floor will also feature a bakery area that will serve pastries, ice cream, coffee and other beverages.

The dining hall's second floor will feature an all-you-care-to-eat area, which will include a salad bar, cooking stations devoted to Asian and Italian foods, a bakery and a chef demo area with counter seating for students. There will be a separate gluten-free space with its own cooking facilities and equipment. Certain cooking stations will also feature glass walls through which students will be able to see where and how their food is prepared. 

According to George Stooks, assistant vice president for facilities and planning, the Letchworth Dining Hall project will be ready for bidding this spring, and after the State University Construction Fund hires a contractor, the building and area in front will be fenced off.

Most of the $16 million budget is funded by critical maintenance money from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York in Albany, while $1.16 million of the budget comes from CAS. $13 million will go toward construction, $2 million will finance design and construction management services and $1 million will go toward new equipment. $160,000 will finance the first floor addition, as critical maintenance money cannot be put toward extensions on a building.

According to Stooks, most of the building will be torn down, allowing for "all new systems throughout – electrical, heating ventilation and air conditioning [and] plumbing." Overall, he said, "The whole floor plan changes as far as the ability to service the customers in a more modern fashion."

Letchworth will also make use of a geothermal well field, an eco-friendly technology that will use 42 400-foot wells to provide heat in winter and air conditioning in summer. The dining hall will be the fourth building on the Geneseo campus to make use of this technology, following Seneca Hall, Monroe Hall and Doty Hall. According to Stooks, the wells will be drilled into the lawn in front of Letchworth Dining Hall but will not be visible to students. 

While Letchworth is under construction, other sites on campus, possibly the KnightSpot, will provide students with other north side dining options. 

"Once they're all done, they will restore that back to a more pristine condition," he said.