This fall, UNC Asheville students have a new dining experience, in a familiar place – with the opening of the renovated Brown Hall on August 21.
The renovations come as part of UNC Asheville’s new 10-year contract with Chartwells. “The renovated space is very Asheville,” says Senior Director of Dining Services Emily Williams. “We used reclaimed materials and commissioned local artists to construct the community tables. We also created areas to make students feel at home, such as the ‘relax’ space that mirrors a residential area.”
Students participated in the redesign process through the Dining Services Student Advisory Group. Political science major Rachel Collman served on the group as part of her involvement with the Student Government Association and says she is most excited about the new atmosphere of the dining hall.
“We met with the designers early on to hear the overall changes then again to see the details. We discussed everything from about the dining hall from traffic flow to lighting choices,” Collman says. “It looks like it will be a more comfortable and welcoming space that will feel less like a cafeteria.”
New action stations and all-you-care-to-eat areas for everything from salads to desserts bear titles like create, nurture, nourish, savor and indulge, and the menu will feature local foods, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. Diners will see real-time menus from digital displays at each station, and new sections will cater to dietary needs, such as gluten-free and raw-food diets.
The expanded open space adds 100 seats indoors and outdoors, and construction includes a hydroponic herb wall and a community wall for messages and announcements.
The foyer of Brown Hall has been renovated as well, to include a gender neutral restroom in addition to the existing men’s and women’s restrooms. A separate hand-wash station has been added near the dining hall entrance.
The renovations have been funded primarily through a $3 million investment by Chartwells. Meal plan costs have not increased as a result of the renovations, but students will find a change in prices compared to Fall 2013 due to the addition of state sales tax on student meal plans and inflationary increases in food service costs.
A grand opening celebration will be held on September 22 to thank the campus community for their support during the renovations of Brown Hall.
Check http://www.dineoncampus.com/unca/ for hours and menus for the Dining Hall, Highsmith Union Food Court, The DownUnder in Overlook Hall, Argo Tea in Ramsey Library, and the Rosetta's Kitchenette in Sherrill Center's Wellness Cafe.