After Nearly Four Years, Doors Open at Garvey Hall


Image Courtesy of Alexander Harvey

By Anna Harvey

At 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 5, 2022, students flocked to find a free seat as the doors swung open at the opening of Garvey Hall. Named after former Catholic University president John Garvey, the dining hall hosted a variety of visitors on its first day, from the former University president to Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington. 

After the demolition of Magner Hall in the fall of 2019, the University began construction for the then-unnamed dining hall on the area once occupied by Magner. While the contractor moved deadlines for the dining hall’s opening, the architect-engineer team Perkins-Eastman completed their detailed construction document phase in the late spring of 2020. A year later, students signed a beam in the spring of 2021, with the University forecasting that the hall would definitively open in 2022.

“It’s wonderful to be back on campus and they have such a pretty space for our students,” President Emeritus John Garvey said on The Tower’s Instagram story. “It’s really the best day of the year.” 

Multiple students received opportunities to intern on the dining hall construction site itself. Senior civil engineering major Emily Moriarty interned on the dining hall site during the summer of 2022 and stated that through her internship experience, she learned more about specific construction processes, as well as the various types of mechanical equipment and coordination techniques involved.

“The most rewarding part of seeing the new dining hall was knowing where everything was and how it all came together,” Moriarty said. “It was super cool being able to work on a project that will have a huge impact on our campus community, while also being able to learn more about the career I will be entering into soon after graduation.”

While the new dining hall includes identical stations from the Eatery—such as Rooted, the vegan station, and Homestyle, the comfort food station—students observed new options as well. The dining hall now includes the wood-fired pizza station “500 Degrees,” as well as an omelet bar. Dessert may be found in the “Sweet Shoppe,” which includes a sundae bar. “Chopd and Wrapd” serves custom salads, as well as sandwich wraps. At “Pure Eats,” the food sensitivity and allergen-free station, students may find options that avoid the following food sensitivities: gluten, milk, egg, shellfish, fish, tree nut, wheat, peanut, soybean, and sesame.

With wooden beams, warm beige tones, scarlet-colored furniture, and a stone fireplace, Garvey Hall’s aesthetic mirrors that of Heritage Hall and Gibbons Hall. 

“It’s very spacious, and there’s a lot of room. A lot of options, too,” said junior media and communications major Jason Uyakonwu. “I’m impressed by the execution, like it actually feels very cozy to be here.”

“Cozy” appeared to be a common descriptor among students.

“The place is really beautiful, and there are a lot of new faces on the staff from what I can tell,” senior history major Jack Decelles-Zwerneman. “The environment is really cozy and lively, and people look really happy.” 

Several students commented on the improved quality of the food.

“I like it a lot,” said junior psychology major Anne Kleinle. “There’s more options, and I think it’s easier to find food that you want.” 

Uyakonwu agreed, noting that, “That’s all I’ve been talking about all week; they need to make sure the quality improves after eating at the Eatery two-plus years.”

Junior nursing major Emma Martin noted the open-space kitchens, including refrigerators with glass doors, which allows students a full view of food preparation.

“It’s really beautiful,” Martin said, “and I think they did a really good job on the kitchen. It’s nice that you can see everything they’re doing.”

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