Renovated 1920 Commons opens to students

$6 million of renovations include new dining options and extended Starbucks hours


Renovations to 1920 Commons were officially unveiled to the Penn community on Wednesday.

Photo by Justin Cohen

Wednesday, students will finally be able to enjoy the newly renovated 1920 Commons.

The $6 million renovations, which began in May, have transformed the underground retail area of the popular on-campus dining spot.

Among other things, Commons now includes Global Fusion, a make-your-own dining option that serves everything from tacos to noodles, as well as Pi, which serves pizza. It also features Fresh on the Walk and Gourmet Grocer, which both offer grocery store items.

VIDEO: Tour of the New Shoppes at 1920 Commons

Starbucks, which was in Commons before the renovations, will now remain open until 2 a.m., much later than last year.

Director of Business Services for Conference and Dining Pamela Lampitt said the renovations came in response to input from the Undergraduate Assembly and the Dining Advisory Board.

Video: Tour of the New Shoppes at 1920 Commons

By Dan Nessenson

Daily Pennsylvanian writer Aditi Srinivas spoke with Director of Business Services Pam Lampitt about the new spaces below 1920 Commons dining hall. Watch the video to get a quick look at the new, expanded spaces.

“It is important to keep yourself fresh and revitalized,” Lampitt said. “We knew we could not continue just putting paint on the walls and thinking we were providing a progressive, quality environment.”

Resident District Manager of Bon Appétit Stephen Scardina added that the new hours of operation reflect students’ requests to have more late-night dining options.

Although the physical construction took about three months, the entire renovation process was much longer than that, Scardina said.

“We worked on designing the building for around a year,” he said. “I am happy that we gave the students what they wanted.”

While Commons has been open at times throughout New Student Orientation, Wednesday marks the first day of full operation.

In addition to new dining and shopping options, students will also have access to two new conference rooms in the basement of the building.

College junior Zachary Dorsen, who saw the renovations at an upperclassman barbeque hosted at Commons Saturday, said he was “really impressed” by the transformation of the underground, as well as the addition of a new outdoor seating area.

“The old area was really quite outdated,” Dorsen said. “It was not a social place.”

College sophomore Melissa Kantrowitz believes Starbucks’ extended hours mark a significant improvement from the past.

“The renovations made the place appear bigger and inviting,” Kantrowitz said. “I definitely see myself coming back, particularly to use Gourmet Grocer.”

Lampitt, who is most looking forward to watching students’ reactions when they first see the new Commons over the next few days, said the building is important to the Penn campus because of what it represents.

“It represents a sense of community and a gathering place,” she said. “Out of everything you remember about Penn, to remember the food you ate and the conversations you had are really important.”

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