Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., is carrying out a $50 million expansion of its campus center that will consolidate student dining in a central location.
The university says the upgrade of the Blanchard Campus Center will create a dining center with seating for 1,000. It will replace dining areas now situated in five residence halls.
The project, which includes a 34,000-square-foot addition, will create a hub for dining and student life services, boost visibility for student organizations, and establish a space dedicated to cultural understanding and civic engagement.
“The community center will be a vibrant hub of engagement, where students and other members of the campus community come together day and night for a range of activities including sharing a meal, attending a cultural event or performance or hosting a gathering,” says Cerri Banks, vice president for student affairs and dean of the college.
The project will bring improvements to all three levels of the building, including a pub and coffeehouse, concert venue, student club headquarters, and themed dining rooms. The improvements also will make the building fully accessible and adhere to the school's commitment to sustainability.
Donations will pay for much of the project. Officials say an anonymous alumna has already committed $5 million to the project and also will match $10 million in gifts for commitments that exceed $250,000.
A new central dining room will enable students with different dietary needs to eat together. Students will be able to choose from small dining spaces, open areas with water views, and outdoor terrace seating.
On the lower level, plans call for a social space for dance parties, yoga classes, concerts, and movies. A recreation space includes a central fireplace, game tables, and a coffeehouse and pub.
The middle level includes a lobby lounge with a charging station, and offices for advising, residential life, student government, diversity programming, and religious life.
The upper level will include offices for student programs and serve as a base for Mount Holyoke’s 120 student organizations.