Oct. 17, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Renovated Boozel Dining Hall transforms culinary culture
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - It's not just the exterior of Slippery Rock University's Boozel Dining Hall that is new. The interior has been totally redesigned to offer food courts, community seating, wireless access, an information kiosk and made-to-order entrees of nearly every variety, including one of the first live-fire Brazilian Churrasco food stations on a college campus.
"Once we get Boozel up and running, I will match it against any dining hall anywhere," said Debra Pincek, assistant to the vice president for student life at SRU.
The dining hall will reopen Jan. 8 following a $7.5-million renovation designed to convert it into the primary campus eatery. Workers added a 2,000-square-foot lobby with glass atrium, eight food stations with open kitchens, new furniture and booth seating throughout.
The redesign, in bright colors of red and copper, reflects an increasing interest in ethnic food, trends toward healthy eating and the technology interests of students, Pincek said.
"This is really about the transformation of on-campus dining. We're moving away from the typical cafeteria line to a food court approach," Pincek said. "We've reconfigured the interior to create a community dining room seating more than 800 and added cutting-edge technology. The dining experience will be more like a social event, especially with the technology. The food service areas will be highlighted with five new LCD menu-message screens, and students will be able to use wireless service any time."
Other new amenities include high top bar tables with stools and diner-style countertops with electric outlets for laptops. A ceramic tile mosaic accents the main grill. Workers laid 20,000 square feet of quarry and checkerboard floor tiles, using colors such as Asian black, mister green jeans, mud pie and blue suede shoes.
Upon entering, students will pass a concierge station that includes a digital kiosk and a greeter. Guests will be able to pay for their meals there as well as obtain campus information, Pincek said.
Eight cooking stations will provide a variety of menu offerings, including an international fusion station, ice cream parlor, fresh-made pasta and pizza, grille and a bakery, to name a few.
The Brazilian Churrasco will be a focal point, said John Vag, resident district manager for AVI FoodSystems, the University's contract vendor. While Boozel was offline, AVI officials researched South American cooking techniques featuring fresh cuts of beef, pork and other meats slowly cooked on rotating spits above an open flame.
"This platform will be accompanied by a smoker that will be utilized to smoke the meats right before our students' eyes," Vag said.
As part of SRU's continued efforts to improve the amenities for students with special dietary needs, Boozel includes an area where guests will be able to receive a freshly prepared meal within their dietary guidelines, Vag said.
"We expect this dining center to be a huge asset toward meeting students' dietary needs as well as a convenient destination located directly between the quad and the new, suite-style residence complex," Vag said.
In an effort to offer students a greener option, AVI has also partnered with the University to offer Eco-Clam Shells for take-out dining. For those students wanting to grab a meal on the go, a new take-out station is located in the Boozel lobby. Use of Eco-Clam Shells will reduce the estimated 300 Styrofoam containers currently used per day, or 48,000 annually that are sent to the landfill, Vag said.
"Students will have the opportunity to purchase the container for $5, then exchange it for a clean container each time they purchase a to-go meal. Dinning services will wash, sanitize and recycle the containers," he said.
Weisenfluh Dining Hall served as the main dining facility during the Boozel reconstruction, which began in August. Once Boozel re-opens, Weisenfluh will offer lunches Monday-Friday but no breakfast or dinner. Its C-Zone snack bar with bag-lunches, fresh program and grab-and-go, prepackaged meals, will remain open.
SRU renovated Boozel to accommodate the increased number of students dining at the facility due to its convenient proximity to the six new suite-style residential halls in the eastern end of campus. A new student union will also be built nearby.
When the second semester begins Jan. 12, students will once again be able to eat three meals a day in Boozel.
"I'm really excited to see all the changes at Boozel," said Tera Novelli, a marketing major from Cecil Township. "Students want food options that are different every day. Otherwise it gets kind of boring."
Matt Rutkowki, a graduate student from Freeport who lives in Kraus Hall, said, "students want food that is fast and is good for them. I am excited to see all the improvements in Boozel, such as the desserts being made on site. I want to see if it's as good as it's been billed."
The second semester hours for Weisenfluh will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Boozel will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. Saturday hours are continental from 9 to 10:30 a.m., brunch from 10:30 to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday hours are the same except dinner runs from 5 to 8 p.m.
While most patrons are students on a food contract, both centers welcome guest diners. Costs for individual meals, which can be paid for by cash or RockDollar$, vary for SRU faculty and staff and community residents. SRU rates are $4.10 for breakfast, $5.10 for brunch, $5.10 for lunch and $6.05 for dinner. Non-SRU patrons pay $5.55 for breakfast, $6.55 for brunch, $6.55 for lunch and $7.45 for dinner.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.