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McIntosh Dining Hall to receive extensive renovations

The 360 grill will provide students with made-to-order meals along with regular self-serve dishes (photo/Sodexo).

Sodexo dining services at Ohio Northern University have confirmed that the McIntosh Dining Hall will be given a large scale renovation during the summer of 2017.

The current dining hall’s layout and design will be overhauled for both aesthetic and utility. Before making the official proposal for the renovations, students were asked what ideas may or may not work best for ONU’s student community. 

Students on Student Senate’s Dining Services Committee were presented some changes by the managers of ONU's Sodexo, including General Manager Noah Ristau. Secretary of Dining Services Paula Wells worked with the committee and Ristau in providing student feedback.

Several initial concepts in the renovations presented by Ristau included seating similar to the new main lounge in McIntosh and a Mongolian grill. 

Wells said, “Another thing that we really pushed for is the Simply-to-Go.”

Simply-to-Go is currently available at World of Wings [WOW] as quick to-go dining options. The renovations to the dining hall will implement Simply-to-Go to be available right inside the front entrance for an easy and fast option for students with little-to-no time to sit down and eat. 

Stations at the dining hall will be moved and replaced. The deli will become a self-contained unit where the deserts are located. A Mongolian-style grill called 360 Grill will be built in the rear of the dining hall, providing many regular and made-to-order dishes. Areas such as the deserts and a classic American-style station will be included. 

The seating of the dining hall will be altered significantly with the current capacity of the dining hall at 500 being cut down to provide new uses for the space. The ‘barracks’ style seating of long tables will be replaced with smaller square and circular tables throughout the hall. There will also be some high-top tables put in place. 

The conveyor belt system of returning dishes was designed for a tray system. Since the trays are no longer in use at the dining hall, some smell and sanitation issues have occurred with the current system. This station will be replaced and moved to a different location as a carrousel system, which is much more compatible with a community of students. 

These renovations will include expanding the seating into the patio adjacent to the dining hall. The wall will be altered and a sloped roof will be built over the open courtyard.  Far in the back of the dining hall, where there are currently lines of small tables, a transparent set of walls similar to the ones in the first floor of Heterick Memorial Library will be constructed to provide semi-private dining spaces. 

Sodexo and ONU are working jointly to make these renovations possible. ONU’s Board of Directors have approved the final proposal to move forward with construction. The renovations will cost at least 3 million dollars to do what Ristau has characterized as an “aggressive” change to the space. Many of the contractors who recently did the constructive work on COSI and WOW will return for this project.

Ristau has said that they will break ground on May 15. The renovations will begin as soon as Commencement Weekend is over. The renovations are set to be complete as students arrive in the fall semester to a new place to eat.