Nutrition department gets updated kitchens

Nutrition department gets updated kitchens

Updated kitchens in Annie Richardson Bass Hall brought a refreshing shift to the nutrition department.

Renovations this summer transformed the outdated kitchens in Bass into improved working and teaching spaces, said Anne VanBeber, nutritional sciences department chair. The kitchen renovations had been in the works for about three years, she said.

“The whole area looks like it belongs in the 21st century, instead of in 1970,” VanBeber said.

She said the kitchens had not been updated in more than 30 years and looked like a set from “Leave it to Beaver,” a 1950s and 1960s family-oriented American television show.

Bass is home to the working spaces for about 100 nutrition students. VanBeber said funds for the renovation came from the university’s reshoring budget, a budget set aside for campus renovations. She said she did not know the actual cost.

Senior nutrition major Jennifer Gavia said the kitchens needed an update badly.

“The equipment was kind of outdated,” Gavia said. “It did the job it needed to, but things would occasionally break or ovens would smoke because they were old.”

VanBeber said two rooms in Bass were renovated, and the updates included a new floor plan that added two more teaching kitchens and a separate office for the lab assistant. A laundry room and storage area were also created.

VanBeber said the addition of storage space was necessary for students to store their backpacks and belongings. The pantry was also altered.

One of VanBeber’s favorite additions was the pulldown screen that allows teachers to show PowerPoints in Bass Room 111. She said the rooms were transformed into full teaching rooms.

Gavia said her favorite additions were the icemakers in each kitchen unit because of convenience. She also said the spaces help the underclassmen get excited about nutrition labs.

VanBeber said that before the renovation, the spaces were not adequate teaching rooms and lacked working space, but the renovations were important in making the university more marketable to prospective students. The improvements also made the space more enjoyable to work in for current students, she said. Former students have been really impressed by the changes, she added.

“They wish they could have been here when everything was new,” VanBeber said.

The only problems are minor kinks expected of new appliances, she said.

“Some of the equipment is not functioning like it should,” VanBeber said.

One problem is a new refrigerator that is freezing all of the contents inside because it is too cold.

VanBeber said the new rooms are now a sense of pride, instead of an embarrassment. She said she is happy with the changes, and there are no plans for further updates or any more changes.

The projects were completed alongside others on campus. Work was done on the courtyards outside Bass at the same time.