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Campus modernizes dining room to encourage community

With the help of local carpentry students, who did much of the work, the school updated its busiest dining room to encourage students to gather, lounge, study and eat.

In January 2016, the University of Hawaii at Hilo took a hard look at its Campus Center Dining Room—the busiest dining room on campus—and decided it was time for an upgrade.

“The primary goal of the refresh was to create an inviting gathering place for students,” says Marcia Sakai, interim chancellor of UH Hilo. 

The work was completed in three phases over a nine-month span during non-instructional periods so as not to disturb those who use the café. What’s more, the majority of the work was done by UH Hilo’s team of auxiliary services, facilities planning and construction and IT experts, as well as students from Hawaii Community College’s carpentry program. 

“We found that with a committed team, much of the work could be performed in house with a very small budget,” Sakai said. “The results of this project achieved our objective to provide an inviting gathering place for students.”

The Campus Center Dining Room serves resident students, commuter students, faculty and staff. UH Hilo has a second dining room on campus—the Hale Kehau Dining Room—that provides all-you-care-to-eat meals for resident students on board plans. There are also seven smaller retail outlets and two food trucks located on the school’s main campus serving a variety of cuisines including healthy, locally sourced farm-to-table food to Thai, Hawaiian barbecue, grab-and-go dim sum and poke bowls.

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