Parkside College dining hall reopens
The dining hall saw visitors from both Parkside and Hillside.
Parkside College residents received an early gift for finals week this semester: a newly renovated dining hall.
The dining hall opened to the public Monday morning after months of delays in renovations, which were originally scheduled to finish by the beginning of this semester.
Students crowded the dining hall during lunch, filling almost every table and seat available. The large flat-screen TVs were tuned in to channels like the Food Network and CNN as residents lined up for quesadillas, pizza and salad.
As students entered the dining hall, they placed their bags in cubbies and lockers, which are a new addition to the dining hall.
“The lockers are a really good idea,” junior engineering major Joseph Williams said. “It means if you have anything expensive you can lock it away and not constantly be glancing over your shoulder while you’re eating [to check on your belongings].”
Ashley Walker, a senior English literature major who lives off campus, was working the dining hall’s cash register and scanning cards as students flooded the dining hall. Walker said she thinks the renovations are a big improvement because they draw a livelier, excited crowd.
“This has been so nice. I would sleep while working at Camp Parkside,” Walker said, referring to the temporary dining hall that fed residents during the renovations. “Mondays at Camp Parkside are usually so glum. People actually want to come here.”
Cruz Ortiz, a freshman sociology major who also works at the Parkside dining hall, said much the same as Walker.
“It feels like a different environment, more energetic,” Ortiz said. “You can tell people are looking forward to being here.”
The dining hall saw visitors from not only Parkside but also Hillside College, like sophomore biology major Colin Stensrud.
“It seems pretty good so far,” Stensrud said. “It’s all arranged well. It’s definitely nice and structured better than I had expected.”
Sophomore business major and Hillside resident Logan Winter said he hadn’t expected some of the structural changes in the dining hall.
“I was very surprised that the front door was in the place where it should be, under the awning,” he said.
Overall, Williams said he was impressed with the renovations.
“It’s a really nice environment,” Williams said. “My favorite thing is the new seating, and I like the booths and the décor.”
One issue, however, that Williams said he had with the new dining hall was the size of the coffee mugs.
“The coffee mugs are very small though, and that’s a little bit disappointing,” he said. “It makes it difficult to make it back to your table without spilling a lot.”
Even though the renovations have finished, the temporary Camp Parkside building in Parking Lot 16 will remain standing until renovations for the Hillside dining hall begin, Director of Housing and Residential Life Carol Roberts-Corb said.
In the meantime, the temporary facility may be used as a study area or meeting space, she said.
The next renovations could begin as soon as finals week of spring semester.
Diversions Editor Danielle Carson, Editor in Chief Kristine McGowan and Opinions Editor Shane Newell contributed to this report.