New central kitchen and woodshop to open this spring
With the university having outgrown their current food preparation facilities, an upgraded kitchen is set to open this coming spring in the middle of east campus.
David Opp-Beckman, Capital Projects Manager for Housing Facilities, said the new 22,000 square foot central kitchen and woodshop will be located on Columbia Street between 19th and 17th Avenue. It will allow for the preparation of larger quantities of food at one time, and give more opportunity for the use of local and fresh products in dishes.
“Food service just keeps growing and we get more products, more opportunities to be able to put products out there,” Director of Food Service, Tom Driscoll said of the project.
The larger kitchen will also allow university dining to produce enough food to satisfy the student body. According to Opp-Beckman, the project will be LEED-gold certified and will allow for consumption of 35 percent less energy than the Oregon energy code requires.
“It will allow us to use more modern technology in a modern kitchen and facility,” Director of University Housing Michael Griffel said.
The current central kitchen is located in the basement of Carson Hall and was originally designed in 1945 prior to its opening in February of 1950.
Construction of the new central kitchen is funded by $8.5 million from University Housing cash reserves. According to Griffel, the new kitchen will also bring together food preparation and catering staff.
Roughly one hundred out of the 400 catering and dining student staff members will work in the new central kitchen when it opens.
“We’re able to get some new equipment, some new bakery ovens, it will allow us to bake things more on time [and] be fresher,” Driscoll said.
Another benefit of the new central kitchen, according to Griffel, is that dining will now have more space and equipment to prepare food. This will allow for dining to have more control over what ingredients go into food products and allow for the use of more local and fresh food.
Opp-Beckman also stated that three students studying architecture were employed by housing and helped develop early plans for the project.
The woodshop portion of the project is also likely to help revitalize the student carpentry program, according to Opp-Beckman. The old campus woodshop was once located on the site where the woodshop and central kitchen are now being built until it was demolished about a year ago.
The university has a large maintenance and carpentry staff that build and repair furniture. University Housing is also looking to potentially hire students to help with summer carpentry projects once the central woodshop and kitchen open this spring.
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.