News Date: 
Sunday, January 8, 2012

Source: The Red and Black

By RAISA HABERSHAM on January 8, 2012

Students eating in O-House Dining Commons may have a drop of debris with their cup of coffee.

The dining hall is being renovated for the 2012 school year to include expanded space and comfortable seating for students eating in the usually crowded O-House.

The $3 million project began over the holiday break and will continue through the spring semester, said J. Michael Floyd, executive director of food services. The ongoing project will last through the spring semester.

O-House will remain open during the spring semester.

"In food services, over the past years we have taken this mindset that we want to make the dining commons a comfortable place," Floyd said. "we couldn't do it in O-House because of capacity."

The last renovation to the dining hall was in 2006, when Joe at the O and the Mongolian Grill were added.

The expanded area, which will contain soft seating and high top chairs similar to those in other dining commons, will replace the swimming pool next to Oglethorpe House residence hall. A fence went up around the pool during fall semester finals.

"Most students aren't here when you can use the pool," Floyd said. "Most students, if they use it are leaving towards the end of the semester. It wasn't open last summer."

Floyd said though the renovation process has been designed to minimize the effect on students, he met with residents and most were concerned about the noise from the construction.

"Contractors won't start too early in the morning," Floyd said. "They're aware of the issues of construction on college campuses. They will make sure they minimize noise."

Construction will continue through the spring semester similar to the Tate II expansion, in which a wall was used to block off the construction area, but allowed day-to-day activities to continue.

In addition to expanding the dining commons, a new dining concept will be added and Casa Wraps will be expanded, Floyd said. There will also be an omelet station added, as O-House "is the only place without one."

With the upcoming changes to O-House, students will possibly also see a newly renovated parking area in the fall.

"The parking area in front of O-House will go away," Floyd said, adding that there would be a campus transit circle for buses in order to improve traffic and increase pedestrian safety.

Right now, Floyd said he is just happy this won't affect students as much.

"I'm most excited about that we can get the majority of the project done with very little impact to customers," he said.