Columbus Room to be remodeled

Construction on new kitchen to begin May 8

The Columbus Room will be off limits due to renovation to install a new kitchen beginning May 8 and ending in mid-August.

The size of the Columbus Room itself will not be significantly affected, although the dimensions will be altered slightly, moving the bathrooms and storage and installing a kitchen in their place.

“The purpose for the creation of a fully functional commercial kitchen on the Octavia campus is to support the new lunch program which involves providing lunch to all students,” Geoff De Santis, Director of Physical Plant, said.

The school lunch program will be included in tuition, giving all students the opportunity to get lunch on campus in the 2019-20 school year.

“The current configuration of the space wouldn’t allow for students to have the type of lunch experience we want our students to have,” De Santis said. “This project also allows for more flexibility over what we can currently provide.”

SAGE Dining Services, the food provider for the school, currently brings food from the Broadway campus over to the Octavia Campus, a process that will be nullified by the project.

“We’ve been updating spaces throughout,” Head of School Tony Farrell said. “The Columbus Room we’d actually been talking about for a couple of years as part of a refresh.”

According to Farrell, over 10,000 square feet of space has been refreshed, including the Learning Commons and several classrooms.

“The serving line will consist of four hot food line options, and around the perimeter of the space we will have the cold stations,” De Santis said. “The entire space will be reconfigured to support the installation of the kitchen.”

The kitchen will be located where the current storage room and bathrooms are, the bathrooms will be moved to the current stage area, and the side room which currently has sinks and storage will be converted into a dishwashing area.

“The seating area will be created with a diversity of options for students and employees to eat, work or congregate at,” De Santis said.

The Columbus Room is the most popular place to eat lunch on the Octavia campus, and its capacity for seating will not be affected.

The new setup will implement new circular tables alongside rectangular tables. “You will certainly not feel like you are in a 1929 room,” Farrell said, “but there’s no drive to make it modern for the sake of modern.”

While its purpose and overall size will stay the same, according to Farrell there will be aesthetic changes alongside the major renovations, giving the Octavia-Pine campus a refresh.

MZA Architectural and Interior Design
Plans for the new Columbus Room show a new commercial kitchen, a smaller seating area and no stage. Art classes were moved to the Broadway Campus so Room 103 can be used for lunch service.

“This is a very large project and undertaking we are embarking on,” De Santis said. “We will work hard and safe to complete this project by the start of the 2019-20 school year.”