The University Commons dining facility is undergoing a dramatic transformation aimed at enhancing the student dining experience with greater flexibility, more variety, more fresh food options, and a more inviting space. The Commons will have a completely new look, including an eye-catching "window wall" near the front entrance. Seating areas will be interspersed among the various dining stations, and the dining stations will be interchangeable, so that chefs will have more options that can be created in full view of students. In addition, the renovated Commons will include the following improvements:
On the lower level of the Commons, the Hawk's Nest is undergoing cosmetic improvements, and will also get a fireplace. The newly renovated Commons is scheduled to open on August 29, the beginning of Move-In Weekend.
What was once known as the Bookstore will now be called the Campus Store, since it sells much more than just books. Like the Commons, the Campus Store has been undergoing a major renovation this spring and summer. The renovated store is located on one floor instead of two, and has expanded into what used to be a corridor of the Harry Jack Gray Center. The store will have a more efficient layout and a brighter and more modern look, including new lighting, new flooring, and new display cases. Many of the upgrades, such as LED light fixture and new HVAC controls, will improve the store's energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. The store has remained open during the construction period by moving the public area into sections of the facility that were not being worked on at a given time. The full newly renovated Campus Store is scheduled to open to the public by the start of Move-In Weekend.
What used to be the lower level of the Campus Store is being transformed into much-needed space for the Department of Architecture in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA). This will allow the undergraduate and graduate architecture programs to come together in one location. Currently the graduate architecture program is housed in rented space on Cottage Grove Road in Bloomfield. The undergraduate architecture program is located on the lower level of the Harry Jack Gray Center and will connect with the newly constructed space below the Campus Store. The new facilities will include studio space as well as a larger and more modern wood shop and fabrication lab.
Removal of the Garret Near the Hartford Art School:
The red barn-like building known as the Garret and an adjacent storage building, both located near the Hartford Art School, will be demolished in August. The old wooden structures will be replaced with a lawn. The undergraduate art studio that had been housed in the Garret will be moved into one of the Hartford Art School buildings.
Other construction projects that took place over the summer include the following: