Amid the noise and dust, progress continues on the Student Center

The construction on Dana’s new Student Center is well on its way. Changes began during March vacation and will continue through this summer. The end result is scheduled to be finished before students return to campus for the 2015-2016 school year in September.

The green fences around the dining center officially designate the area, a full-fledged construction zone, complete with 8′ x 12′ metal dumpsters, “Required Hard Hat” signs, and a designated gravel walkway that students must use when walking up to the side entrance of the dining center. Inside, changes are rapidly occurring. Common Ground has been blocked off with a temporary wall, leaving students and faculty to access the cafeteria through a hallway and one staircase that leads up to the second floor of the dining center, across from the panini makers. “The dining center feels somewhat claustrophobic, and traffic can sometimes build up in the hallway,” states Raya Husami ’16, who recommends students go to second lunch to avoid the crowds.

According to Charlie Breslin, Dana Hall’s Chief Operating Officer, the construction began with the removal of old flooring from the second floor and main corridor on the first floor. Breslin adds, “in our current phase, we have begun the demolition of the exterior brick work and soffits” and “will be busy with long lead items for the project such as curtain wall windows for the front of the building.” Breslin notes that the project team meets weekly to monitor the progress and is pleased with the current position of the construction.

Students have also been asking, “where will campers and students eat this summer?” Dana Hall is certainly not a dead campus during the summer months. When students leave campus on June 6, it is almost as active as it was during the school year, as Dana is home to more than five summer camps, including The Girls Summer Leadership Program and Entrepreneurial Program and LINX sports camps. Rick Echlov, Director of Summer and External Programs, says that campers will be eating in Beveridge Hall and the fencing studio. Echlov states, “the construction on the dining center does have an effect on all of the summer programs, but they have notified all the groups, and and have helped them to make sure everything will work out.”

bulldozer croppedAttabelle Wasniewski ’16, co-head of the Entrepreneur Club, looks forward to the greater space and resources that the remodeled Student Center will offer. “It’s so difficult having to run to the dining center right after lunch, and have to quickly eat your food and then rush to the club meeting you are trying to attend in the classroom building. But [next year] with the conference rooms located directly on the first floor of the dining center, you have a perfect amount of time to address everything you want to talk about, since all you have to do is simply walk downstairs to your meeting.”

Students can check on the progress of the new Student Center from now until the end of the summer by watching the live camera feed on the Dana Hall website. The camera is located on a tree outside of the library, and is facing the entrance of the Dining center, where the two silver “grandmothers” statues reside. To access the camera, go to and click on the tab labeled “About Us.” Choose “The New Student Center” link, and from there you will be able to access the live video feed, as well as pictures of the construction progress.

Alia Malek ’16, who has been checking on the progress of the construction via the live feed camera, says that she is really excited for the changes to take place. She is looking forward to having the cafe in Common Ground and being able to enjoy outdoor seating during lunch.

Photos credit: Kaya Reingold.

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