Brittain restoration to begin this summer
Artist's Rendition / AUXILIARY SERVICES
The class of 1974 donated $150,000 to begin work on expanding Brittain Dining Hall's raised center bridge into a mezzanine seating level.
With some funding secured, the planned facelift to Brittain Dining Hall will begin this summer. Using money from several individuals' gifts from recent years, major work will be done to the interior of the building.
Fixing the uncontrolled water intrusion is one of the first priorities. The seating capacity will also be increased from just over 250 occupants to close to 300, providing room for the increasing student population.
The multi-million dollar project will begin by expanding the center bridge space into a mezzanine level capable of seating 68 people. The front doors will open up to a carpeted lobby with a grand staircase leading upstairs. The class of 1974 donated $150,000 to the project as a 25-year reunion gift and will be able to name the new grand staircase and lobby.
"The staircase will be like something out of Gone With the Wind," said Student Center Director Rich Steele. The staircase and lobby are designed to be an attractive focal point for those to see upon entering the facility. The President's Dining Room will be renovated, providing space for ten to twelve occupants to have private meetings, such as for Freshman Experience hall section dinners.
At the same time, a half-million-dollar project funded by Auxiliary Services will fully waterproof the building. Future projects will include repairing the water-damaged plaster walls, putting in a new floor, purchasing new furniture, allowing more light to enter.
Brittain was built in the 1920s, and although several alterations have been made through the years-including a renovation of the kitchen area and servery before the Olympics-the main dining hall has received little attention other than patching water damage on several occasions. "To our knowledge, it has never received the attention that it should," said Steele.
"Brittain Dining Hall is probably the second most important building on campus from a historic perspective." The renovations focus on preserving the Gothic feel-adding, for example, adding pilasters to enhance the wood trim.
Several summers will be spent on these alterations because Brittain must remain open through any restoration to continue serving 15,000 meals a week. Money issues also hinder the process, but officials are hopeful that the significant initial steps in the process will help with fundraising efforts.