Dining Services evaluates Dougherty ramp

Walter Smith Randolph

Dining Services will observe student usage of Dougherty Dining Hall’s ramp today to decide whether or not it will be removed for renovations this summer.

The Board of Trustees recently passed down a decision to renovate Dougherty Dining Hall, according to Timothy Dietzler, director of Dining Services. Dougherty Dining Hall is a mainstay on campus, but the Campus Master Plan calls for the removal of its ramp.

Due to the current economic forecast, no major changes will occur to Dougherty Hall, but the Board of Trustees has set aside a small portion of money to renovate its dining hall this summer, Dietzler said.

In the 55 years since it first opened, Dougherty Hall has changed. What once served only 600 students now serves over 6,000 undergraduates.

“It had a bookstore and a pool room where the CAT office is now,” Dietzler said.

Although the ramp takes up a lot of square footage, it has been instrumental on many occasions. When Dietzler first began working at Villanova, 1,400 students would line up on the ramp for dinner after Sunday mass.

In addition, when major events on campus like Special Olympics and Candidates’ Day occur, the ramp creates a natural queuing line.

Although there is some doubt about removing the ramp due to the high volume of customers who eat there during the summer, today’s End of the Semester Dinner will be the real test.

Dining Services plans to observe students’ habits to determine whether or not the ramp will be removed over the summer.

Tonight Dietzler and his staff will observe how students enter and exit The Pit.

If the ramp is removed, glass partitions will be built on both the Austin Hall and Vasey Hall sides to create a barrier.

“The doorway will change,” Dietzler said. “Students would enter through the vestibule, and it would be kind of like Donahue Hall, similar to the McGuire Hall side.”

Removing the ramp would also free up more space in the dining hall.

“We would have almost 70 more seats,” he said.

The aesthetics of the dining hall would change as well. There would be better lighting and stations similar to Donahue Hall. If plans move forward with the removal of the ramp, students would be able to see the entire dining room.

“The central serving station would be pushed back where the ramp is now,” Dietzler said, which would create a more open feeling. “You would be able to see the serving stations, which is something that you can’t do right now.”

Junior Student Body President-Elect Daniel Gelwicks is working with Tim Dietzler and the Dining Services staff to ensure that removing the ramp would benefit the dining hall and that the concerns of the students will be taken into consideration when it comes to eating on campus.

Gelwicks has also created a student government committee solely dedicated to Dining Services. The committee will debut in the fall, as will the results of the ramp renovation test.