The Verney-Woolley Dining Hall is scheduled to undergo extensive renovations, with construction beginning at the end of May, according to Vice President of Dining Services George Barboza. The renovations will focus on the “back of the house,” with changes including increased freezer and cooler space, added dry food storage and a new energy-efficient dishwasher, Barboza wrote in an email to The Herald.Last fall, dining hall workers noted the lack of fridge space in the V-Dub, The Herald previously reported. Barboza later wrote about the renovations in an op-ed in The Herald, which he later explained were planned before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barboza added that the project will include an expansion of the current seating area into “additional space in the building,” along with installment of new flooring and an allergy-free pantry.
The budget for the project is $3 million, Barboza wrote. The changes are “primarily guided by the opening of the new (Sternlicht Commons) dorm,” he added, and are expected to be completed in mid-August.
“We have received feedback from students about the need to increase seating capacity and the need for new menu options that align with the health and wellness initiatives on campus,” he added.
The culinary team has been working “diligently” to diversify menu options and introduce new food items to the “menu cycle,” Barboza wrote.
Facilities Management’s Planning, Design and Construction group will lead the renovation project, wrote Michael Guglielmo, vice president of facilities management, in an email to The Herald. The group includes a planner, project manager and construction manager who are responsible for “overseeing and coordinating” all aspects of the project, Guglielmo added.
The University will also contract with the Shawmut Group, a national construction management firm with Providence offices, to complete the project, Barboza and Guglielmo both wrote. A representative from Shawmut did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“The relationship between (Facilities Management) and Shawmut is built on a history of transparency, collaboration and trust to bring the most value to our projects,” Guglielmo wrote. Shawmut is currently helping complete the construction of the new Performing Arts Center and the Sternlicht Commons and Brown University Health and Wellness Center.
Guglielmo also wrote that the V-Dub renovation will be similar to infrastructure improvements completed in other dining halls such as the Sharpe Refectory.
The impact on staffing from the renovations is expected to be “minimal,” but Barboza also wrote that “evaluations and adjustments” will be made as needed.