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Progress Updates

October 2022

The Dining Center opened on October 16, bringing a reimagined dining experience to our campus community, with nine food stations offering an array of fresh and local dining options. Along with all-electric power, solar panels, stormwater management and recapture, and the geoexchange plant being built in the basement of the facility, the Dining Center is a trayless facility, which helps support the sustainability goals at the heart of the DCC’s design. The Dining Center's menu offerings will continue to expand as the Swarthmore Dining team grows into this new space.

With the opening of the Dining Center, work will soon begin on the renovation of Sharples, phase 2 of the Dining and Community Commons. The transformed Sharples Commons will become a hub where campus community members  can gather, socialize, and connect with one another. Sharples Commons is expected to open in early 2024, marking the completion of the Dining and Community Commons project.

July 2022

Work on the Dining Center has been ongoing throughout the summer, and while we are excited by the progress to date, we are facing some of the same global supply chain issues that are disrupting construction and many other industries around the world. As a result, we are postponing the planned opening of the Dining Center by about two months until mid-October, the week after fall break.

Read an update to our community on the new Dining and Community Commons. 

March 2021

Members of the project’s executive committee, design, and construction teams offered an overview of the project’s progress thus far. An information session for the campus community included the most recent interior and exterior renderings, offered insights into how our students, faculty, and staff will experience dining, gathering, and relaxing in the new commons, and outlined what is to come in the project’s next phase.

View a recording of the March 3, 2021 Information Session. Please note, the design is subject to change.

October 2019

The executive steering committee, alongside project architects DLR Group, in consultation with Rayford Law, held two town hall meetings to discuss the dining and community commons programs and share schematic designs, conceptual renderings, and site plans for the project. These gatherings were an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to engage with the design team and learn more about recent progress on the design phase of the project, as well as to ask questions and share input. The feedback gathered at these town halls will continue to inform the final design of the building as well as the robust programming that the building will accommodate. 

See slides from the town hall meeting. Please note, the design is subject to change.

May 2019

DLR Group and Envision Strategies/RICCA Group release reports of their engagement findings. The engagement process involved a series of open sessions, workshops, interviews, and surveys, and offered students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to share their experiences dining, socializing, and learning on campus. The findings from this engagement process will closely inform the schematic design of the renovated Sharples Dining Hall and community commons space as well as the design of the updated dining program.

January–February 2019

DLR Group and Envision Strategies/RICCA Group visit campus to engage students, staff, and faculty in a series of workshops and sessions designed to gather the community's input and perspective on the College's dining program, sustainability goals,  hopes for the community commons space, and more. See a schedule of the higher level campus engagement workshops .

December 2018

DLR Group was selected as the project architect for their approach to collaboration, commitment to sustainability, and understanding of Swarthmore's unique culture. Learn more about DLR Group and the architect selection process.

Envision Strategies/RICCA Group was selected as the project dining consultant for their experience in advising colleges and universities on how to offer students an enhanced dining experience, with a focus on community and connection.

September 2018

President Valerie Smith announced that the renovation of Sharples will be funded in large part by a generous gift from Gil Kemp '72 and Barbara Guss

May 2018

The committee met weekly between February 20, 2018 and May 1, 2018. At this first stage, our conversations focused on evaluating the needs of an updated campus dining program. Through discussion, the following emerged as desired components of a dining hall and community gathering space, which should:

  • Serve as a centralized campus hub and offer a sense of community to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Include flexible spaces and varied seating arrangements for dining, meeting, and socializing.
  • Facilitate entrepreneurial ventures, new partnerships, and resource sharing.
  • Support relaxation, socializing, and fun.
  • Be fully accessible.
  • Offer more diverse, local, organic, and sustainable food options.
  • Expand the dietary accommodations program with more dedicated serving stations/areas.
  • Provide easy access for food deliveries and waste removal.
  • Integrate charging stations and other smart technology, including high-efficiency appliances and lighting.
  • Incorporate natural light and indoor and outdoor gathering spaces.
  • Offer extended hours and late-night dining options.