After extensive renovations, from interior design to mechanical upgrades, Drumlin Dining Hall reopens to campus. Take a look at the new dining experience, as well as historical photos of Drumlin from the 1960s.
UW-Whitewater junior Jordan Holthaus remembers his reaction walking into Drumlin Dining Hall last week.
"I was blown away. The architects had asked for our input on color schemes, fabrics and countertops," he said. "They did everything to a T, from the upholstery to the color of the plates."
Holthaus, a member of the campus dining committee, got a sneak peek at the building, which is reopening after eight months of construction and renovations.
"I live on the west side of campus, so knowing I'll be able to get a late-night snack again without walking very far is great," he said.
A grand opening celebration is planned for 10 a.m. Friday, April 12, when the university will unveil its new dining center to the campus community.
Drumlin now features an all-you-care-to-eat Pulse on Dining by Chartwells (PoD) layout, designed to bring preparation cooking into view of the customer with an emphasis on presentation. POD is not ordinary cafeteria-style dining and is recognized as college dining at its best with contemporary and modern flare.
"The PoD design is great because whatever students want -- pizza or sandwiches -- they can go straight to it without waiting in a buffet line," Holthaus said.
"Food is prepared fresh in front of students," said Bob Barry, University Center director. "That's one of my favorite features -- students can interact with the chefs and be part of the experience."
The PoD platforms serve unique menus daily, and include:
"We are very excited to bring Pulse on Dining to UW-Whitewater," said Ann Rakowiecki, marketing director for UW-W Dining Services in partnership with Chartwells. "Students have shared their reactions with me, saying things like 'impressive, yummy, beautiful and WOW!' With the contemporary look, feel and menu, Drumlin Dining Hall offers the UW-Whitewater community a unique dining experience. We are very proud."
Also part of the renovation is the addition of Erbert & Gerbert's Bistro, offering sandwiches made on fresh-baked bread and gourmet recipe soups. The company, based in Eau Claire, has locations in nine states.
Constructed in 1965, Drumlin Dining Hall serves primarily the six low-rise residence halls and Starin Hall on the west side of campus, although it is open to all students, faculty and staff members, and campus visitors.
Despite some minor changes over the years, the building hadn't undergone a major renovation since it was built.
This project upgraded the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and added a fire sprinkler system.
"We knew we'd have to take the building off-line and it would be a rare opportunity to remodel the dining area," Barry said.
In October 2011, the campus dining committee, composed of students and staff members, put together a contract and design process. Architects drew the details, getting feedback from students at every phase.
The building closed in May 2012 and contractors broke ground in August.
Student meal plan money funded the $7 million project.
"A new building would have cost $25 million, so this is such a prudent investment and a bargain," Barry said. "We've breathed life into a 48-year-old building that will serve students and the campus community for many more years."
Barry also noted that UW-Whitewater meal rates remain second lowest in the UW System.
"It's cool to see something that was an idea a year ago come together so quickly," said Taylor McDarison, a sophomore. "I like the fireplace sitting area because it's so comforting and warm. They did a really good job making it feel like 'home.' "