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$2M renos to LU's Great Hall to begin this summer

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Feb 21, 2014 - 1:46 PM |
Laurentian University's 60-year-old Great Hall is set to undergo a rehaul this summer. Supplied photo.

Laurentian University's 60-year-old Great Hall is set to undergo a rehaul this summer. Supplied photo.

The first major step in a sweeping modernization of Laurentian University’s Sudbury campus will begin this summer with renovations to the iconic Great Hall.

The $2.09-million contract for modernization of the 60-year old hall has been awarded to Sudbury-based Capital Construction and work is scheduled to begin this spring, at the end of the current academic term.

“Our planned renovations to the Great Hall will create a warm, welcoming and sophisticated dining and gathering space for students, staff, and visitors to the campus,” said Ben Demianiuk, director of Housing and Food Services.

“We believe the re-design will make this much-loved campus fixture a new and inviting focal point at Laurentian.”

Artists’ renderings of the redesign propose up-to-date lighting and furnishings, with a variety of comfortable seating. The food services offered through the Great Hall have also been re-envisioned as a “Marché-style” dining experience, to be operated by Aramark Food Services under the name Fresh Food Co.

“Throughout our campus consultations, we heard that students want more menu options, more fresh food and healthy meal choices,” said Demianiuk. “With the Marché approach, we’ll be able to deliver far more variety on a daily basis, with 12 different food-choice stations, compared with the current three.”

The Fresh Food Co will also offer more local produce and locally-sourced food products, to be highlighted on daily menu boards. The university continues to seek further opportunities for local food and beverage suppliers to offer their products on campus.

The Marché will operate as an “everything you care to eat” system, allowing unlimited choices at set rates for each meal period.

Dining will be most affordable with one of the menu plans created for the new food services, ranging from the designated meal plan for students living in Single Student Residence, University College, East, and West Residences, to the Optional meal plan for faculty, staff and students in non-designated residences.

“We’re joining the majority of Canadian universities in providing meal plans for students in residence, providing students and their families the assurance of fresh, nourishing meal choices throughout the academic year at a reasonable price,” said Vice-President, Administration Carol McAulay.

The Great Hall renovation project is a prelude to the sweeping campus modernization program approved by Laurentian’s Board of Governors and outlined in the University’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. The $50M campus modernization program will entail numerous upgrades and renovations to classrooms, labs, study areas and social spaces over the next 3 years.

“It will be the first significant modernization of some parts of the Sudbury campus, and the intent is to optimize and modernize our facilities while improving the use of space and streamlining access to services,” said Executive Director of Physical Plant and Planning, Brad Parkes.

During the period of renovations to the Great Hall, dining options will continue at Tim Hortons and Starbucks while a barbeque food cart will be added to offer a variety of seasonal favourites.

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