August 16, 2013
The construction equipment is gone, and the food is back in Lower Baldwin.
That's enough to whet any Albion appetite.
After five months of extensive renovations, Baldwin Hall's lower level—Albion College's main dining facility—welcomed faculty and staff for a noon-hour lunch Aug. 14 in what amounted to a full dress rehearsal 10 days before most students arrive.
When they first stop by, they'll see a Lower Baldwin entrance that is now more inviting and open. Walking in will give them an immediate view of the new Fresh Express salad bar, featuring a colorful array of hot and cold foods. They'll also notice new food stations, like the Italian-style pizza oven and made-to-order deli and grill areas, that enhance the variety of customizable menu offerings, as well as new seating in a variety of styles that offers more flexibility than the prior configuration.
"We are extremely pleased with the outcome. The renovation of Lower Baldwin will no doubt be a welcome improvement and enhance the College experience for Albion College students," said Todd Tekiele, who oversaw the project and in the process concluded his service to the College as director of auxiliary services.
Tekiele added that the renovation finished on time and on budget, while Interim President Mike Frandsen noted the energy and water savings that will result from the greatly improved efficiencies in the kitchen. He also cited the kitchen's upgrades as a workspace: cushioned flooring replaces tile, and employees had input in the paint and lighting choices.
"This has been a tremendous team effort to put all this together—from employees to contractors to architects," Interim President Mike Frandsen said in brief remarks to the gathering, extending special thanks to Tekiele for his service to the College and kitchen staffers for their patience and flexibility during the project. Diners followed that up with a standing applause.
The College and its dining services partner, Bon Appetit Management Company, worked closely together throughout the project. The efficiency improvements, along with Bon Appetit's farm-to-fork focus, are helping to ring in the College's 2013-2014 Year of Sustainability.
View photos from throughout the summer renovation on the College's Flickr page.