Newcomb Hall Renovations Lead to Temporary Dining Facility

The University of Virginia will offer a new dining experience in the fall – meals in a temporary building in front of Peabody Hall.

But this is not your run-of-the-mill temporary structure. It will seat 550 diners on two levels, said Brent Beringer, director of U.Va. Dining Services. "It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, following the Newcomb Hall schedule," he said. "There will be a separate dining area for Brown College residents."

The 15,000-square-foot building will have a fabric roof and aluminum and glass walls facing Peabody and Monroe halls and McCormick Road. The main entrance will face Monroe Hall and the kitchen area will be on the Alderman Library side.

"It will be a complete building, with restrooms, running water and electric, a full kitchen cooking with bottled gas," Beringer said. "It will have suspended wooden floors, and we will move the furniture from Newcomb Hall into it. It can stand up to 70-mile-an-hour winds, and the roof can handle a substantial snow load." The building will be anchored to the ground with 25 steel plates, each held into the ground with five-foot-long steel pins.

"It will have all the comforts of home and a few more seats than Newcomb Hall offered last year," he said.

The structure takes the place of the dining facilities in Newcomb Hall, which are undergoing extensive renovations and expansions. Those dining areas should reopen for the spring semester.

U.Va. Dining contracted with Signature Events in Lexington, Ky., to supply the building, which has been prefabricated in Germany and is being assembled on site. Rich Kovatch, associate vice president for business operations, said the contract costs $710,000 for the building's installation and removal, and he estimated site work and utilities to be an additional $125,000 to $175,000.

The building will be open for dinner on Aug. 26 – the Sunday of move-in weekend – and close after examinations in December. It will then be dismantled.

Beringer said that U.Va. Dining will continue to offer food trucks around Grounds, though he said new locations would have to be found for them initially to accommodate construction. He said that the Pavilion XI food court on the lower floor of Newcomb should also be open this fall.

– by Matt Kelly