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Thursday, June 13, 2024 — Houston, TX

East servery opens, serves crepes

By Hallie Jordan     1/13/11 6:00pm

The completion of East Servery and the Brockman Hall for Physics and Astronomy marks an end of a construction era at Rice, which started in 2007.Planning for both of these buildings began in 2008. East Servery opened on Monday and move-in to Brockman Hall is scheduled for Feb. 14.

The servery's opening also marks an end to the wave of south college construction that has been ongoing for the past several years.

"It was a really great opening," Director of Residential Dining David McDonald said. "The students seem to be very happy. It is just beautiful; it opened on time and there is nothing more we could possibly ask for."



Since Monday, the servery has served around 1,100 people per day, McDonald said. This is about the number that was expected based on the population of Lovett College and Will Rice College, whose commons are attached to the servery, and the anticipated interest from students at other colleges.

"We prepare for an average and then have backup items; we didn't run out of food or anything like that," McDonald said. "A few extra 100 people per meal doesn't make a huge difference."

North and West Serveries each see around 1,400 people per day and South around 1,000.

New kitchens were necessary because the old ones had poorly functioning equipment.

"Now the kitchen staff can produce higher quality meals and keep food costs lower," Senior Project Manager Kathy Jones said.

Jones College junior Michael Matthews said the physical aesthetic of the servery seems to be its best quality.

"I think the architect did a good job creating a nice space with generous natural light and interesting structure," Matthews said. "But it suffers from the same problem as West in that it has a poor layout for actually getting food."

East has enough space for three kitchens and is designed so that the Sid Richardson College Commons could easily be expanded and attached to the servery, Jones said.

"It is designed so that we don't have to spend a lot of money and effort to expand later on," Jones said.

Soon after the project was originally started, it was put on hold because of the economic recession in 2008. In addition, the idea to make enough space to possibly include Sid Rich in the future arose but was too costly to pursue immediately, Facilities, Engineering and Planning Communications Manager Susann Glenn said.

However, recession-induced decreased prices allowed the project to be funded, including the three-kitchen space, for the same price as the original two-kitchen plan.

"Usually, annual construction inflation is about 18 percent, but, since the recession, it has been close to zero," Project Manager Erik Knezevich said.

The Lovett Commons received a few renovations, such as an expansion of around 300 square feet and a renovated PDR with adjustable skylights.

The Will Rice Commons stayed the same, but the college received several new additions with the rest of their renovations.

"Lovett really beared the brunt of inconvenience and noise throughout construction," Glenn said. "They helped us work out a construction time table and are such an accommodating group. We have a responsibility to carry out what the administration says, but we don't enjoy inconveniencing the students."

Glenn said that although finishing this phase of construction is a relief, it is also bittersweet.

"We had such a great team - it's kind of sad that it is over," Glenn said. "We are losing a great group of people, but it has been such a wonderful experience with them."

The next construction projects in the works include improvements to the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies and the beginning of the James Turrell skyspace installation in front of Alice Pratt Brown Hall in late March.



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