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Parkside dining hall renovations completed

An opening date for the new facility has not been set.

Parkside dining hall renovations completed

Todd Johnson

The new dining hall will feature a new pizza oven, private dining area, television, and Wi-Fi. An opening day is yet to be set.

With construction on the Parkside College dining hall complete, the only thing halting the facility’s opening is a go-ahead from the city fire marshal and training for new employees.

Director of Housing and Residential Life Carol Roberts-Corb said that she could not provide a projected opening date but that she was notified that the fire marshal began reviewing paperwork for the facility on Thursday.

“At this point, it’s a waiting game,” she said. “It’s completely out of the university’s hands.”

Roberts-Corb said that once the fire marshal approves the dining hall, 49er Shops will need a couple of weeks to move food and products into the facility and train employees on the new equipment.

She said she plans to have a private welcoming party for Parkside residents and ultimately a grand opening, though she said her “primary goal is to get the students in there eating as soon as possible.”

Project Superintendent Howard Mills said that renovations to the Parkside dining hall have taken little more than four months and were finished Oct. 31.

Throughout the course of the project, the deadline for its reopening has been pushed back multiple times, leaving many Parkside residents feeling frustrated, a feeling Roberts-Corb said she understands.

“I just want students to eat in there,” she said. “I know it’s a pain that they [residents] are having to go over to Hillside [College] or the temporary facility to eat. We just want people to enjoy it, so it’s very frustrating at the moment.”

Since the Parkside dining hall renovations began in the summer, residents have had to visit either the Hillside College dining hall or the temporary Camp Parkside dining hall in Parking Lot 16 for meals.

Sophomore liberal studies major Alexandra Huggins said she knew the dining hall wasn’t going to be ready on time but feels the wait will be worth it, as the renovated facility will offer a new dining experience for students.

“The set-up [of Camp Parkside] is just not well prepared, and there’s not a lot of options,” Huggins said. “That’s not how dining should be if we’re paying for it.”

Roberts-Corb said the dining hall has been renovated from the inside out with some of its new features including a soup, salad and vegetarian station, a grill station, a pizza oven and a private dining area equipped with a drop-down screen and projector.

Many Parkside residents, such as sophomore civil engineering major Joshua Pulliam, said they don’t mind waiting for the dining hall to open considering the number of new options that will be available to students.

“I saw some pictures on the [Cal State Long Beach] housing page, and I feel it’ll be better than even Beachside [College’s dining hall],” Pulliam said.

Wi-Fi will also be available to students, as well as electrical outlets that have been installed every few feet along the walls, both inside the building and outside on the patio, so that students can easily “plug in,” Roberts-Corb said.

Marisol Bernal, a sophomore nursing major, said she “moved in [to Parkside] to be closer to the dining hall, so the fact that it’s almost open and will be bringing new dining options so nearby is a relief.”

Parkside residents also said they look forward to being alleviated of the construction noises and distractions that have bothered them for months.

“My dorm is near the construction, so I have dealt with a lot of noise,” freshmen Nate Shah said. “And I’m sick of walking the extra 10 minutes just to get food.”

Camp Parkside will remain standing until construction begins on the Hillside dining hall, according to Roberts-Corb, who said the temporary facility may be used for educational purposes or a meeting space while construction is halted.

She also said that the Los Cerritos residence hall will be renovated during the summer.

There is no set start date for construction at the Hillside dining hall and Los Cerritos; however, Roberts-Corb said she hopes to begin the projects at the end of the spring semester.

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