The Market Place at Atherton Union has a new appearance after a makeover during winter break.
The dining facility now includes a lounge area with a television and a fireplace, new floors and walls, booths and a different seating arrangement. The food has also undergone a renovation in order to provide more variety and healthier options.
Freshman exploratory studies major Alyssa Hayes had input from the very beginning on the renovations. Before break, she joined with other Schwitzer Hall students to discuss potential renovations.
The students shared their thoughts on the current Atherton and discussed changes they wished to see if The Market Place was renovated.
“This is where we eat everyday and this is the type of change we wanted,” Hayes said after seeing the renovated facility. “It was so cool to go into the new Atherton and see changes that our group had actually talked about.”
After several years of working in Atherton’s dining services, Brenda Campbell said the renovation was worth the $500,000 spent.
She said the changes in appearance and food choices have benefited both the staff and the students.
“The students seem to be very happy with it, and we are too,” Campbell said.
While the brighter and cleaner atmosphere could create a more energetic work environment for the employees, Campbell said the staff is happiest to see and hear the positive feedback from students.
“I see them fighting for the two lounge chairs by the TV,” Campbell said during the lunchtime rush hour.
She has also noticed a larger influx of students coming into Atherton during mealtimes.
According to Campbell, the students socialize and hang out in Atherton more than they did before because of the more comfortable environment.
“We’re all so excited about the changes, and I think the students really love it,”Campbell said. “Meals are busier than before.”
In addition to the renovations made to the facility, Campbell said the staff members are also working on other upgrades, consistently adding new recipes and continuing to train more employees to make it better for students.
Freshman psychology major Danielle Markowitz said the changes made the dining experience better, but the focus of the project should’ve been more on the food and less on the appearance.
Lauren Palmer, a freshman engineering major, said she loves the new Atherton because the appearance and better food are worth the money spent.
“I had the choice to switch to my sorority’s meal plan, and I’m going to stay here, because now, the food is delicious,” Palmer said.
Freshman engineering major Justin Miller said he also appreciates the changes made to Atherton. While he said the school spent a lot of money, he said he thinks it was for a good cause.
“The food is something that actually affects students everyday,” Miller said.
Many students believe the new renovations make Atherton more of a place to lounge and not just eat.
“With the fireplace and the comfy chairs,” Palmer said. “I could actually hang out here.”