Wheaton College Chase Dining Hall

Norton, MA

Client

Wheaton College

Program

Renovation of 15,500SF main 1960s dining hall to create a showplace open kitchen concept for dining, events and late night service on campus.

Sustainability

LEED Silver

Challenge

Chase – the main dining hall on the Wheaton campus – was built in 1957 and expanded in 1963 to create two separate dining areas, square and round, with a central kitchen. These two dining rooms were completely cut off visually from each other. This unwelcoming, inefficient space required a full gut renovation to unify the space and upgrade the building systems.

Solution

Chase Hall redefines how food is served on Wheaton’s campus, with a showplace open kitchen concept that reunifies the separated dining areas in an updated mid-century modern aesthetic. The re-design uses varied ceiling heights, color accents and floor patterns to define station locations and circulation throughout the space.

The salad bar becomes the central entry feature, with glass front coolers showing off fresh ingredients. The new continuous servery line opens up views into the dining areas which offer a range of seating options for students to “perch, dine or linger.” Farm tables accommodate large groups and flexible furnishings can accommodate after-hours entry to one half of the facility for events and a future late night attraction. The design team worked with the existing slate wall, adding pops of the school’s signature blue and yellow to a simple neutral backdrop, adding lighting accents with new globe pendants over the seating areas.

Although the college initially wanted to keep the main kitchen areas at Chase, PCA convinced them that building an efficient, more compact kitchen would save money in the long run, creating modern stations that could be easily served from the open kitchens. PCA’s creative value engineering approaches helped keep this challenging renovation on budget. Flexibility and affordable quality were stressed with these designs to provide timeless spaces for this classic campus.