1920 Commons to see major renovations, dining changes

Changes will affect both hours of operation and retail options

· March 29, 2012, 8:50 pm   ·  Updated March 30, 2012, 1:43 am

Over the summer, Class of 1920 Commons will undergo major changes.

Beginning May 9, Penn will start construction on a $6-million renovation project in Commons, which will be completed by the start of the next academic year.

The renovations, which were first announced last February, will mainly impact the lower floors of Commons and will include a revamped patio space, the relocation of Starbucks to the lower level, the expansion of the UnCommon Market, as well as the addition of new retail dining options.

“The look and concept [of the new dining area] will be similar to McClelland,” Stephen Scardina, the resident district manager for Bon Appétit, said. “Students can have grab and go. It really caters to students between nine to nine.”

The new retail dining area will offer a salad bar, a pizzeria, a soup station as well as many other food stations, according to Scardina. Students will be able to pay using Dining Dollars, bursar or their credit cards.

On the same floor, the UnCommon Market will feature a grab-and-go selection of packaged foods and will offer an expanded organic produce section, which will allow students to use their Dining Dollars to purchase fresh foods.

“With the high rises with kitchens, students will have more options to get ingredients to cook more,” said Douglas Berger, executive director of Business Services.

In addition, some of the new dining options will have extended hours Sunday through Thursday. Starbucks will stay open until 2 a.m., and two new food stations — the pizzeria and a healthy food stop — will stay open until midnight.

Currently, none of the dining options in the Commons basement stay open past 9:30 p.m.

“The Dining Advisory Board really has a lot of input on hours and where we serve and how we serve. We also worked with a rep from the athletic department,” Berger said. “This late night option was something we really needed to do [for students].”

Other than some minor renovations in 2010 for the creation of the Late Night Study Center, Commons has not had a renovation project of this scale “in a long while,” according to Business Services spokesperson Barbara Lea-Kruger.

The new dining and retail area will replace Subway, the Burger Stop and Yo-Reka!, which will close after this semester.

“Subway was a franchise our last company brought in,” Berger said. “We felt that Bon Appétit’s options are much better and more rounded.”

However, some students are unhappy with the decision to remove Subway.

“I don’t think I necessarily like that. I eat Subway a lot,” College junior Ray Andruszko said. “It’s cheap, and stuff at Bon Appétit is so overpriced.”

Nursing sophomore Molly Blais agreed, saying, “I think the Subway move is kind of bad. You always see kids there in line.”

Still, other students are excited for the changes. College junior Alex Dayneka said she is looking forward to the longer hours. “I think this is great. I’m an athlete and my practices are over at 8 [p.m.], [so] I think it’ll be very helpful,” she said. “This place needs a face lift.”

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