Community responds to MO Hall

Missouri Hall’s received a new dining hall renovation last summer to change the decor and kitchen. With brand new tables, chairs and food stations, the cafeteria now offers a new dining experience for students and staff like Missouri Hall Director Zac Burden.
Burden said he eats in the dining hall every day and is impressed with how good the new decor looks and  how quickly it was all finished. He said one of the best changes was removing the wall separating the service area and dining areas because it was impossible to see what was being served and if there was a line for it.
Burden said he likes the new arrangement of food and the introduction of the new serving area in the middle of the hall.
“I think it made mealtime much more of an exploration,” said Burden. “The idea is that I can go here, go there and keep looking around to take a look at everything. It really creates a better dining experience.”
Burden also said the cafeteria, which opened in 1965, was in dire need of an upgrade. He said several of the fixtures like the salad bar, condiment bar and drinking station dated back to the 1990s, and the wires back in some areas were still running on fuses.
Burden said the Sodexo staff did an excellent job turning the construction site into a functional cafeteria over the span of a couple days. He said the team always seems to work hard, and it would not have been possible without Missouri Hall dining manager John Dahlman, who has worked on campus since 1986.
Dahlman said the kitchens needed the renovation because the infrastructure was falling apart. He said he is happy with the new appliances behind the counter.
“Copper and cast iron pipes don’t last forever,” Dahlman said. “For example, [it] was February a couple of years ago when the electricity went out. One of our drain lines that’s over the top of the electrical part of the building had rotted through, so the water had ran into the electricity, which wasn’t a good mix.”
Dahlman said it is harder to work because of the new stations around the hall, but his staff can handle the pressure. Now that every area has its own line, it can be difficult to fully staff each area.  He said nothing can really be changed because of how expensive stone countertops are.
Dahlman said the hall looks much nicer with a brand new color scheme and furniture. He said he was surprised the old, wooden chairs lasted so long since they were from 1989. Dahlman said even though the surroundings have changed, the best thing to him will always be the different faces he gets to see, like Missouri Hall resident junior Alexandra Miller.
Miller said she used to eat at the dining hall everyday during her freshman year. Now she rarely finds herself sitting down in the cafeteria. She said the food was the worst out of the halls last year, but it had the best arrangement of food and seating.  
Miller said the cafeteria might look fancier now, but it feels less functional.
“The tables and chairs are too different, and I don’t like the thing in the middle,” Miller said. “I eat a lot of carrots and spinach, so now I have to duck down there and reach far because there’s a glass plate thing right above me. I can only imagine how it’s like for people who are tall to try reaching down there.”
Miller said she liked the Missouri Hall dining area before the renovation because it felt like it was more community-based compared to Ryle and Centennial halls’ restaurant dining experience. She said the other two halls felt like restaurants, which she wasn’t interested in.
Miller said the hall looks much better and the food has improved tremendously compared to how it was before. Miller said she liked how many new options have opened up because of the new serving areas.