For years Miller Dining Hall has been an integral part of living in the Hedge’s community. As Harrison Dining Hall is to Johnstone, Miller is the Hedges’ respective dining hall and is depended upon by its residents for daily food. As of March 16, due to remodeling, Miller is about a quarter of its original size. With such limited seating, many Hedges’ residents are looking other places for food. The remodeling of Miller has become commonplace for its patrons, but at this phase the accommodations to countering present limitations are lacking.
Miller is currently in phase two of its remodeling, and currently only has enough room for 200 people at a time. Roskie Hall alone can have up to 453 residents per semester, combine that with the population of both Hedges and there is little possibility that the current space Miller has can accommodate all these people properly. The main counterbalance in place is the “grab and go” in South Hedges.
This station provides salads, sandwiches, drinks, fruit, bagels and other quick bites for both Roskie and South Hedges residents, and although useful, it is not enough to fulfill the appetites that Miller presently cannot feed. To get an actual meal, one must at least travel to North Hedges to enter Miller, but for the employees the distance is much longer. Because Miller’s kitchen is under construction, the Fat Cat bakery inside Hapner is the only place that preparing food for the “grab and go” can occur. For both the residents of Roskie and South Hedges and the employees of Miller distance is the main inconvenience to get food and for delivering food.
Many people in the Hedges are looking elsewhere for their meals, putting more pressure on Harrison and Hannon Dining Hall. As the smallest dining hall of the three Hannon already faces crowding during peak lunch and dinner times. The extra guests are being accommodated with extra seating at the Hannon lobby, but with lines already long at peak times this space will run out as more residents are detracted from Miller. Harrison Dining Hall can provide seating for more guests. However lines have become longer, especially on the weekends.
With the large crowds in dining halls, residents may have to look outside of campus to eat, thus putting unneeded pressure on their wallets. Traveling to Hannon or Harrison from Hedges is about a five to 10 minute walk, imagine doing so with an injury, a cast, crutches or wheelchair.
Both the lobbies of Hannon and South Hedges are partially consumed by the extra seating, which changes life at these lobbies. South’s lobby especially is home to a popular gathering area for watching sports, but with the grab and go right in that in that spot, now that place of congregation for sports fans is presently out of commission. The Miller remodeling has sprouted inconveniences that span campus wide and the current accommodations are simply not enough.
One solution could be to extend Hannon’s hours throughout the week which would provide another weeklong dining hall for residents, thus decreasing pressure on Harrison and avoiding the need to look off campus for food. A proposal gaining support with Hedges students is that a discount on room and board should be applied because of the remodel and all the inconveniences that have followed. Since Miller is the primary food source for Hedges residents and it is currently unable to support its patrons, this proposal should be looked at by the Residence Life office. Such a discount does not have to be severe. However, the “grab and go” is not enough to counterbalance the remodel. Some new action needs to happen.