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Nov. 18, 2004


New dining center approved by U-M Regents

ANN ARBOR, Mich—The University of Michigan Board of Regents today (Nov. 18) approved a plan for a new Hill Dining Center, the second in a series of capital projects announced as part of a comprehensive plan to upgrade campus housing.

The board also appointed the architectural firm of Goody Clancy and Associates of Boston as designers of the facility.

Part of the Residential Life Initiatives (RLI) highlighted for the board in September, the Hill Dining Center will involve renovation of existing space in either the Mosher-Jordan or Stockwell residence halls, and will include an addition that could run behind either building to the west toward Palmer Field. A decision on the location will be made after additional architectural and site reviews are completed and assessed over the next few weeks.

Altogether the dining facility is expected to include 45,000 gross square feet of space, enough for approximately 700 seats. The project is estimated to cost $21 million, of which about $3.5 million would be for food service equipment and furniture.

"This project is the first in the RLI plan to address one of the issues students identified as most important in surveys of residential life," Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper said. "It begins to meet the needs of students for unique community places to gather where they can get high-quality food at their convenience."

University Housing surveyed some 2,400 students, conducted nearly a dozen focus groups, studied 93 retail food outlets in the area and looked at what 11 peer institutions were doing in terms of dining services.

Housing Director Carole Henry said the trend is toward a marketplace concept with an emphasis on variety, freshness and quality. In the Hill facility there will be between five and seven food service stations or mini-kitchens for the preparation of a variety of foods, including specialty and ethnic cuisine, and a range of healthy choices. The Center may also include a food "emporium," a blend of restaurant and convenience store that makes it possible to offer extended hours on an economical basis.

"Students no longer eat three sit-down meals a day," Henry said. "They want the flexibility to get food at any time of the day. They also want healthy choices. We can economically address their needs by having large dining venues that are supplemented by retail operations."

Henry said the Hill Dining Center is the first of two similar projects identified in the RLI plan. Another dining center is proposed for the Central Campus neighborhood. The plan also calls for renovating Bursley and East Quad dining facilities and adding supplemental food service operations in all residential neighborhoods. Existing dining facilities may be reconfigured as part of the plan.

The comprehensive RLI plan that calls for renewal, revitalization and modernization of campus residential facilities was developed by the Division of Student Affairs and Facilities and Operations following two years of study. In addition to the dining research, input was gathered through a student survey on general housing issues; visioning sessions with faculty, staff and students; interviews; focus groups; and a review of institutional data and reports.

As a result of the study, the University will build its first new residence hall in more than 35 years at the current site of the Frieze Building. The proposed 500-bed residence will include instructional space to address the University's vision of creating unique learning communities that are tied to residence life.

The RLI also calls for extensive renovations to other facilities, including technology infrastructure and continued progress on installation of life safety systems, which includes updated fire alarms and sprinkler systems. The University is expected to begin renovations in the near future to Mosher-Jordan and Stockwell, with renovations planned for Barbour, Newberry and West Quad as funding allows.

More about the RLI: >

Contact: Julie Peterson
Phone: (734) 936-5190