By Rachel Stevens
On Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, Catholic University announced exciting news about a $6 million donation from an anonymous couple. This generous and large contribution to the University will go towards the creation of a new state-of-the-art dining hall to be completed by 2020.
As it stands, the new dining hall will be double the size of the current facilities at the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center. Students and faculty have expressed discontent with the traffic flow in the current student restaurant. Facilities are not large enough to accomodate Catholic’s growing student population. Undergraduate and on-campus students are most likely to use the student restaurant on a daily basis. With jam-packed schedules, the lines at the Pryz can be time consuming and frustrating. Fortunately, the new dining hall will “enhance the undergraduate experience” according to Jonathan Sawyer, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
Plans for the building show its future location in what is now Centennial Village. With a prime location near freshman housing, the goal is to ease crowding and expand food options. It will feature contemporary space with display cooking, ample seating, and informal student gathering spaces.
“The generosity of these donors directly benefits our undergraduate student population,” said University President John Garvey.
The University itself is thrilled with the plans. Positive reactions about the new dining hall speak about the generosity of the donors and focus on the improvement of campus life. Maria Holschbach is a current freshman psychology major and will be on campus when the facilities are up and running in 2020.
“I think that the new dining hall will be a great advancement for the university. It isn’t just a building, it’s a reflection of the generosity from those who love this school and what it has done for them,” Holschbach commented.
Many students feel similarly and are focusing on possible improvements to their future campus experience. However, the announcement has brought mixed reactions from some students. Amongst the student body are different thoughts and questions surrounding the logistics of this project. Many questions are about the construction of the facility and displacement of some freshman dorms.
In addition, the general consensus among the student population is a push for better quality dining food.
“If the new dining hall is going to be another Pryz with complicated hours and no variety of healthier options, I don’t know if it will actually improve the student experience. It might just ease traffic flow of the cafeteria,” said Sophia Ferraro, a freshman nursing major. “I just think the quality of the food should be improved, I have no idea if they’ll change vendors.”
The University has not commented yet on whether or not it would switch food service providers. In regards to construction, the University would need to knock down multiple Centennial Village dorms. Unanue, Magner, and McDonald may fall victim to the wrecking ball. There has been no formal announcement from the University concerning the start date of construction nor logistical information to any potential residence building changes. One thing is for sure, students and faculty alike are interested in what the campus will look like in 2020.