Lee’s Dining Hall undergoing multi-million dollar makeover

The Deacon Jones Dining Hall is undergoing heavy remodeling for the next several months. All renovations are expected to be completed by August 2017. Pictured here is the closed sidewalk between the Dining Hall and tennis courts. Photos taken by Halea Lingerfelt on Friday, March 31.

Lee University’s Deacon Jones Dining Hall is currently undergoing a massive transformation from the inside out.

Substantial changes will include new meeting rooms for students, a pizza oven area and nicer booth and outdoor seating, according to Mike Hayes, vice president for student development.

“These renovations all come back to enriching the sense of community on campus,” Hayes said. “We do hope the transformed facility attracts more students and other visitors to our campus. Ultimately, though, it’s about enhancing the student experience.”

The sidewalk next to Deacon Jones Dining Hall will remain closed during the remodeling process, which began in March during spring break. Photos taken by Halea Lingerfelt on Friday, March 31.

The remodeling began over spring break with light construction both in and around the Dining Hall without affecting normal meal services. That will all change beginning April 24, as the Dining Hall will close and buffet-style meals will be served in the Rec Center during the same hours of operation. All the renovations are expected to be completed by August 2017.

The estimated cost of the project is $4 million, according to Chris Conine, vice president for business and finance. Food service giant Sodexo is providing a $2 million dollar gift while the university will “raise the remaining monies needed to complete the Dining Hall renovations,” Conine said.

Ryzec Building Group, LLC, a construction firm based out of Franklin, Tennessee, is serving as the contractor for the project. The group previously renovated Lee’s retail dining venues in 2011, including Chick-fil-A, Subway, Einstein Bros. and Dunkin Donuts, according to Conine.

“We were very impressed with their responsiveness, quality and performance on our project,” Conine said. “We hired Ryzec to renovate Lee’s Dining Hall based on their ability to tackle big projects like ours, with high quality, in a short period of time,” Conine said.

The last major renovation made to the Dining Hall was in preparation for the 1996 Olympics, with some smaller improvements made along the way, according to Hayes.

Part of the construction area closed off on the side of the Dining Hall. Photos taken by Halea Lingerfelt on Friday, March 31.

Throughout the current project, Sodexo will continue to provide allergen-free meal options. Students are also encouraged to look out for announcements detailing the location of Midnight Breakfast, which will take place late night on Tuesday, April 25.

“We just want to stress that we know how important the Dining Hall is to the overall sense of community on our campus,” Hayes said. “We want it to be an attractive, inviting gathering place in which students, faculty and staff can engage.”

A digital rendering of the complete Dining Hall renovations can be found on Lee University’s Vimeo page.

Originally published at www.leeclarion.com.

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