Cafeteria closed through first week of classes

By Gus Bode

Dining hall renovations not finished

Because of delays in summertime construction, Grinnell Hall, the dining area for Brush Towers, will remain closed through the first week of classes, pushing Brush Towers residents into Trueblood Hall in University Park for meals.

Grinnell will officially open for business at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 25, one full week after operations were intended to begin.


Peggy Corley, associate director for residence hall dining, said Trueblood’s staff is preparing for the influx of customers because of Grinnell’s current construction. Staff from Grinnell will work at Trueblood for the next week, relieving some of the pressure on Trueblood staff.

“We ask people to be patient during the next week,” Corley said. “You can expect longer lines until we work out the glitches, like at the start of a new year – overall, we’re in good shape.”

Dale Bruns, unit manager for Trueblood, said the dining hall generally serves 1,000 students during lunch, while breakfast and dinner are, for the most part, unaffected.

“This won’t be much different than regular meals,” he said.

Mike Jarvis, production manager for Trueblood Hall, said workers are bracing for impact, though he is optimistic the staff can handle the job.

“We will stick together and work as a team,” he said. “We have been in a situation like this before, and you just have to adapt.”

Although Trueblood’s summertime construction has not yet been completed, the dining hall will remain open. Administration plans to block off sections to complete renovations, leaving the dining hall open to students. The renovations will be completed within the next two weeks.


The Express portion of Grinnell, one of the sections that underwent remodeling, will also remain open through the next week, although only packaged foods can be purchased at this time.

Corley said the late night operation had recently become quite popular, servicing up to 5,000 students per night last year.

“We remodeled Express to make the area as comfortable and accessible as possible, and we really hope the students appreciate and respond to these changes,” she said.

Once Grinnell officially opens for business, Express will have a larger variety of items to be purchased, as well as a larger serving area for hot foods.

According to Corley, construction on Grinnell and Trueblood Dining Halls was slated to begin in May, just following the close of the spring semester, but J & L Robinson, the construction company hired for renovations, did not begin until mid to late June, mainly because of the ordering and shipping of products.

“The summer months are not really enough to get some of these projects done,” said Beth Scally, associate director of marketing and conferences. “Some materials didn’t come in on time like we wished and we got a late start, so it just all came together.”

Most changes were cosmetic to the serving square. The Egyptian theme of the dining area now extends to the serving area. Grinnell also has higher ceilings with painted clouds on the skylights.

Reporter Katie A. Davis can be reached at [email protected].