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More Dining Hall Details Announced

More Dining Hall Details Announced

More Dining Hall Details Announced


The new Dining Hall is expected to open at the start of 2025-26 school year.

News Editor

October 12, 2023

Rebekah Oppenheimer '24

On Thursday, September 28, News Editor Rebekah Oppenheimer ’24 attended a meeting for faculty and staff interested in learning more about the upcoming renovations to the school’s Dining Hall. The following is a paraphrased version of information presented at that meeting. 

The Dining Hall is more than 75 years old and one of the oldest unrenovated buildings on campus. The administration’s plans to overhaul the building have been in the works for over a decade. 

Administrators plan to retain the round tables, which they believe foster community, and keep the Dining Hall attached to the Main Building, although several other location options were originally explored, among them the current location of Watson dormitory or site of the beach volleyball courts. 

Renovation will start in December 2023 and last until August 2025, during which time the Dining Hall will be closed. Head of School Mr. Bradley said, “Time is of the essence.” The project is 2.5 times larger in scale than the renovation of Memorial dormitory, but is expected to be completed in around the same amount of time. Mr. Bradley believes it is necessary to have the new facility open before the start of the 2025-2026 school year. 

Mr. Bradley expressed delight that funds for the renovation have been raised so quickly, crediting the leadership of the Board of Trustees and the office of Alumni & Development as vital to that effort. Mr. Joshua Hahn, director of strategic initiatives, laid out a vision for the Dining Hall’s expansion. The new facility will include seating for 625 people, a new elevator, dining offices, and much-larger server. 

Plans include 10 stir-fry stations, a deli bar, salad bar, pizza oven, and a variety of new sections for students with dietary restrictions. The building will resemble Memorial dormitory stylistically, with large windows, natural light, and a view of Bissell quad. Additionally, the new building will have an expanded version of Luke Foyer. 

The classes of 2024 and 2025 will graduate before the building is complete. New temporary dining accommodations at the Ford Tennis Courts will be created and used during construction of the new Dining Hall. 

Mr. Hahn recognized the challenge that getting to the temporary dining facility will post to community members. He assured the faculty that the school would seek to support community members in doing so, and work to create a fun experience for the current Senior and Upper Mid classes in particular. 

Additional parking spaces for faculty and staff near the gym will enable them to get to the temporary facilities more quickly and transport students with limited mobility. Mr. Hahn said, “All food options offered at the Dining Hall at this point will be offered at Ford, as well.” 

Richard Davis, dean of academic life, said that he doesn’t currently foresee a need to delay the start of the class day to accommodate students traveling to and from breakfast. However, he announced that the Academic Office is exploring potential options for extending lunch periods by 10 minutes to allow students more time for travel. 

When asked about the optics of having students from the Class of 2024 start and end their Hotchkiss careers dining in a temporary facility, Dr. Amber Douglas, associate head of school, said that a committee would work to “make Ford into a destination” by adding decorations and preserving traditions such as Senior-only seating. 

In addition, she announced that continental breakfast would likely be served in the Main Building so students would not need to visit Ford before classes, and that the dining budget would likely be increased to add more food options for the next year-and-a-half. 

The Record will continue updating the community as additional information on the project becomes available.

Rebekah Oppenheimer is a news editor for The Record

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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