Dining & Res Halls & the Post Office, Oh My! Widener Spends Summer Transforming Campus Spaces and Services
It was hot construction summer here at Widener – quite literally at times with those temps!
While you were dipping your toes in the ocean at the Jersey Shore, we were diving headfirst into renovations designed to improve the campus experience for students, faculty, and staff.
From academic spaces to dining and living areas, you will find some BIG changes at Widener when you arrive this August.
Without further ado, let’s run down the list of the major ones, starting with one of the most visible – dining.
Remember us talking about all those planned dining updates? Well, we’ve put our money where our mouth is (haha see what we did there, mouth, like eating?... *crickets chirping*)
Anyway, this summer, we moved food operations out of Harris Hall to focus them at MacMorland Commons in University Center, the hub of student life.
There, Tenders, Love, and Chicken and Provisions on Demand, known as the POD, were replaced by Moe’s Southwest Grill, which was previously located in Harris Hall. Bento Sushi remains at MacMorland. More on the POD below.
Also in MacMorland, we’ve added two remote kitchens, featuring Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Cinnabon, and a grab-and-go breakfast option called Good Day.
You will order all your food ahead of time and pick it up in food lockers called “The Drop at MacMorland Commons.”
And speaking of ordering food, we’ve swapped the Sidekick app for Grubhub, so be sure to download that… like now… go ahead, we’ll wait.
The Lions’ Den
The previously mentioned POD from MacMorland Commons has been supercharged into The Lions’ Den (named by the Widener community) and moved to the lower level of the UC. It’s 24/7 with self-checkout.
“We’re trying to keep things open later,” said RJ Oliveri, director of strategic business transformation for Widener.
And, he added, “there’s a focus on healthier options,” including ready-made sandwiches, salads, bakery items, convenience store essentials, and more.
Next door to the new Lions’ Den, the Widener Post Office is getting a new mail delivery system with dedicated package lockers that can be accessed basically whenever. Think Amazon lockers.
And when your latest Amazon purchase or care package from home arrives, you will receive an email notifying you that you’ve got mail (not in the actual AOL voice though), along with a code to gain access to your package in the locker.
Kapelski Learning Center
The multi-phase, multi-year project to renovate Kapelski Learning Center continued this summer, with work focused on the second and third floors above the Math Center. There are two new classroom spaces, along with refreshed office suites and stairwell.
“The Kapelski Learning Center project is a dramatic rethinking of the building. We are reorganizing space to promote collaboration among the disciplines,” said G. Rogers Cooper, director of planning and construction for Widener.
Over in Kirkbride Hall, two labs – microbiology and physics – were renovated with some fancy new equipment. It’s all designed to “enhance the educational experience,” said Cooper.
Wolfgram Memorial Library
Turning the page to the library, the main circulating stairs were refreshed, with new lighting installed in the atrium, which should have a “significant impact on the experience there,” said Cooper.
Remember Harris Hall and the now-vacated food area? Well, we’ve transformed that ground floor spot into a multipurpose space that can be used as lounge or even as a classroom. A stage area has been added to facilitate performances, perfect for an open mic night or other forms of artistic expression.
A trio of first-year residence halls — Kapelski, Sharples, and Moll — got a refresh this summer with some lounge renovations, including new air conditioning units. In addition, Kapelski’s balconies – the ones overlooking Memorial Field – have been removed to extend the lounge area.