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An Update on the Dining and Community Commons Project: October 2019

Dear Friends,

We write to share with you an update on the Dining and Community Commons project and invite you to town hall meetings to learn even more about this transformative project. 

The Dining and Community Commons will address several needs within the campus community: The building will allow us to significantly expand our dining program and the variety of food options we offer. It will provide an environment that fosters connections between students, faculty, and staff throughout the day. And it will provide an inclusive space for students to interact, unwind, and socialize around the clock — space unlike anything we currently have on campus. This project is about much more than a building; it represents an opportunity to transform how we live in community with one another.

As we indicated at the end of last semester, the executive steering committee has spent the past several months working with the project architects to develop the building's schematic design. That process has been heavily informed by input gathered from students, faculty, and staff, including interviews conducted by project architects DLR Group with more than 500 students across all class years, as well as a survey by dining consultants Envision/RICCA that was completed by 570 students, faculty, and staff.

This project involves a comprehensive re-imagining and expansion of the current Sharples Dining Hall to create a gathering space for the campus community that can also meet the dining needs of our students. While we are continuing to refine the schematic designs and site plan, we now have a clearer understanding of how the site plan will impact the surrounding area. The addition will extend to the south and west of the current Sharples footprint. We are working to ensure that work has a minimal impact on the surrounding landscape, preserving the integrity of the arboretum, while also paying particular attention to issues such as underground utilities, grading, stormwater management, and accessibility. We also need to create access for trucks that make deliveries to the building several times a week as well as access by emergency vehicles. Importantly, in addition to our ambitious sustainability goal of making this a net-zero building, we are planning to use some of the infrastructure of the building to support the broader efforts of the Roadmap to Zero and our commitment to achieving carbon neutrality. 

In order to accommodate all of those needs, 5 Sharples Lane, which formerly housed Phi Psi, will be torn down. During construction, which will be phased and is expected to begin this summer and conclude in fall 2023, 4 Sharples Lane, which formerly housed Delta Upsilon, will serve as a field office for DLR Group and WARFEL Construction. This will keep us from having to set up temporary construction trailers and further disrupt the arboretum, just as Kyle House served as the field office during the construction of Singer Hall.

Town Halls

Next week, we will host two town halls for students, faculty, and staff to offer an opportunity for you to see the current schematic designs and site plan and talk with members of the executive committee and the project design team about the design process and the project’s overall progress. 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.

They will take place on: 

  • Weds., Oct. 30 from 7–8:30 p.m. in Science Center 101
  • Thurs., Oct. 31 from noon–1 p.m in Singer Hall 034/35 

We encourage you to attend one of these sessions to share your feedback, ask questions, and hear more about how the design and site plan will help bring the goals of this flagship campus project to life. If you plan to attend one of these sessions, please complete this RSVP form.

For more information on the project’s mission and timeline, visit the Dining and Community Commons project site. You may also reach out to Anthony Coschignano, assistant vice president for Auxiliary Services, at with any questions.


Greg Brown
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Jim Terhune
Vice President and Dean of Students