The Rivier community can expect to see some exciting changes when they visit the Dion Center dining hall this fall. Renovations are currently underway in partnership with Sodexo, Inc., the University’s food service provider, and will be completed for the start of the fall semester. This transformation is consistent with the University's strategic and campus master plans.
The most visible and exciting changes for visitors will be the new fresh cooking options. The centerpiece of the room will be a 360-degree action station where a chef will prepare fresh dishes for students while they wait. “This new station with display cooking is predicted to be a hit with students,” says Vice President for Student Affairs Kurt Stimeling. It will also include an expanded salad bar and deli area, and popular items have been added to the menu such as international, pasta and stir fry dishes. A new grilling station will be installed where students can enjoy their favorite grilled foods daily.
Stimeling knows how important this transformation will be for students. “The dining experience isn’t just about eating. It’s about the community coming together, hanging out, having fun, and sharing experiences. This renovated space provides students with a comfortable gathering place to meet for many purposes, with easy access to good food.”
In addition to the 360-degree station and the grilling station, there will be a new seating arrangement which will make the room more open and appealing while increasing the seating capacity of the dining space. Round tables and booths will be arranged in a way that is both more attractive and spacious.
Renovations will enhance the dining experience—the dining hall will take on the look of an upscale restaurant. New, contemporary classic colors will add a modern touch to the room and pounded copper, glass tiles, and tinted windows are among the elements and textures that will contribute to the New England feel. New flooring—a mixture of tile and carpet—will be added to complement the new atmosphere.
Improvements include some much needed upgrades to the kitchen and the removal of the dish room, which will make the dining experience more pleasant and less noisy. Used dishes will move on a conveyor belt out of sight to the dish room. The metal grated window treatments will be removed, allowing more light to brighten the area. The dining experience will be further enhanced with real china dishes and high-quality silverware. Food will be made fresh with diners observing cafeteria staff preparing the meals and large open coolers with fresh foods in full view.
“I believe this new dining hall is just the beginning of the wonderful things that the University continues to add and build upon,” says senior and SGA Senator of Residents Melissa Arcari-Wood of Derry, N.H. “I am more than excited to see the finished dining hall in the fall. Returning and new students will be amazed at the transformation!”