Chartwells to renovate, modernize dining halls

This summer, the Mahoney-Pearson Dining Hall will be completely revamped as part of Chartwells’ 10-year contract with the University of Miami.

In order to improve the overall dining experience, Chartwells will remove behind-the-scenes food preparations and cook everything in front of students. Additionally, they will replace the furniture and organize it in a more open fashion to foster a more amicable atmosphere.

“Currently only residents go to the dining halls … because they need their food and that’s the easiest place to get it,” said former Student Government (SG) President Nawara Alawa. “What we’re looking for is a place to live, a place to eat, a place to hang out. It’s like our dining room essentially, not just a dining hall.”

The new dining hall will be renovated based on Chartwells’ Pulse on Dining locations that are composed of three dining zones, Chartwells’ Communications Director Kristine Andrews wrote in an email interview. The casual dining, called Eat.Learn.Live., will be composed of chefs preparing meals-to-order in front of students. MyPantry, the comfortable dining option, will resemble a home kitchen and house a refrigerator, home appliances and  cabinets.  The premium dining area will feature culinary entertainment in its fully exposed kitchen.

Chartwells, in collaboration with UM, formed a specialized group of students, faculty and staff to study the desires and needs unique to the Coral Gables campus.

“The intention is to create a campus dining experience for the students, by the students,” Andrews wrote.

Chartwells will create a natural interior design for a modern dining venue. The new seating arrangements of the spaces will include booths, high tops, easily arrangable chairs and a conference room that students and faculty can reserve, according to Alawa

Additionally, SG President Bhumi Patel and her staff are working on an outdoor seating patio, as well as an easier to-go option.

“Right now students that are doing take-out dining and dine-in swipe in at the same spot, but it gets slow,” she said. “What we’re working on with Chartwells is creating a separate to-go area … This’ll be faster.”

Construction on the renovations is scheduled to begin when the dining hall closes after finals and end before classes start this coming fall semester.

SG is also working on developing improved meal plan options and block meal plans for residents in regards to Chartwells.

According to Patel, other dining changes around campus will include Lime moving into the current location of the Rat. There will also be new dining options in the Student Activities Center.