Kitchen and Dining Room Construction

Kitchen staff serving students in the newly finished kitchen

A Warm and Welcoming Environment

February 11, 2021

In September 2020, Grebel’s new kitchen and one section of the dining room expansion were completed just in time for fall term residents to enjoy the more spacious communal area. Since then, the new spaces have received much praise. Long-time Grebel students and staff are enjoying the expanded and open design, and appreciate that the more connected space allows for easier interactions between kitchen staff and students. It is a perfectly fitting upgrade for the community-focused environment of Grebel, creating space for everyone.

“I love how bright and open it feels in the kitchen and server thanks to the large windows that let in so much sun!” said Megan Gallagher, a Grebel resident.

Since September, the construction team has been hard at work. The anticipated dish return area, where students can put away their dirty dishes and trays in an organized and efficient manner is ready for use. And with the recent completion of the south-end section of the dining room expansion, the dish return area is easily accessible. There is only one part of the dining room extension left to finish, though the remaining materials are delayed due to COVID complications. Once the supplying factory reopens and Grebel receives the materials, the ceiling will require a few weeks to install.

 “The kitchen and dining room expansions will allow us to have more of our Grebel community members present at Community Supper, which adds significance to this weekly time spent together,” said Megan.

Grebel resident Andrew Cullar added, “When the construction is completed, the wall of glass windows that overlook the patio will make the cafeteria a great place to study and socialize again.” In addition, the renovated patio will make an ideal place for outdoor gatherings.

The chapel is a very important place in the Grebel community, providing an area to gather over music and faith. To better connect this crucial space with the rest of the College, the final—still unfinished—part of the dining room extension includes a staircase and elevator that lead directly to the chapel lobby. “An elevator makes it easier to get to the chapel, both for students who may need assistance and for the elderly who would otherwise have to walk through the residence,” said Angelica Allen, music ensemble and concert coordinator at Grebel. In the past, musicians would occasionally perform in the dining room. The space was crowded and difficult to set up, but with the new staircase, “it means that we could arrange singers on the stairs. They can easily see the conductor, and the audience can see all of them. It means we no longer have to rearrange the whole room to have a choir.”

Despite the setbacks caused by COVID, the transformation of the old kitchen into a private dining room, pantry, storage room, staff washrooms, and changing area are nearing completion. The private dining room will be available for smaller groups of people, allowing staff to meet for interviews, lectures, and discussions in a comfortable and private manner. Another much-anticipated addition is the pantry, an area where students can put together their own meals or snacks. The new, larger storage room is a unified space, replacing a number of smaller scattered storage areas. Similarly, the new staff washrooms and changing area are being built to replace the previous, smaller facilities.

These improvements to Grebel’s building help foster a warmer and more welcoming environment for a place where community already shines so bright.

The projected completion date depends on when the supplying factory reopens, but in the meantime, construction continues steadily on the old kitchen transformation.

September 2020 construction update here.

Welcoming Washrooms article here.

The Building Project

Since Conrad Grebel University College was first built more than 55 years ago, the residence has grown, apartments were added, and our classrooms, library, archives, and other academic program spaces have all expanded dramatically. However, our kitchen and dining room are largely the same as they were in 1964. It’s now time to reinvest in these important facilities.  

To accommodate our growing community, we are building a new kitchen and dining room. The project includes a student pantry, as well as an elevator and staircase to the chapel foyer.

Learn more about this project and the Fill the Table campaign.

See the final building design plans.

Contact Mimi Browne if you have any construction-related questions prior to your visit.