SUNY College at Cortland

Like many college dining halls built in the 1960s, the Neubig dining hall on the SUNY Cortland campus was outdated and inefficient. In order to provide a contemporary and inviting dining environment for the campus community, the University decided to renovate this facility which is conveniently located in the academic core of campus. The renovation was phased so that the dining hall could remain operational. Phase 1 included renovation of the front dining room, and the servery stations in that portion of the building. While this part of the project was underway, students were still being served by the existing stations beyond an existing bearing wall. This was easily accomplished as the existing stairway from the lower level was positioned so that the inbound flow of traffic did not need to cross into the renovation area. This phasing plan was a cornerstone of PKC’s renovation work plan.

The new stations in the Phase 1 servery included a serpentine shaped salad bar; a uniquely-shaped central core station which included a large Mongolian grill where students select their stir fry mix and watch it being prepared with their choice of sauces. This area also includes a sit down counter so customers can enjoy their food while watching the action at this display cooking area. This station also includes a made-to-order display grill station which serves traditional grilled foods along with breakfast options. Equipment includes an induction cooking station for crepes and omelets. The sit down portion of the bar was designed as a future site of a chef-attended sushi station. Dual beverage stations and a cereal bar complete the stations in Phase 1.

Phase 2 of this project involved areas located behind double doors in a narrow corridor. Our design opened the space as much as possible to make it an attractive destination venue. Offerings here include an international grill with many world food offerings either made to order or daily specials offered self serve style; a “parlor style” ice cream venue featuring dipped ice cream as well as soft serve frozen yogurt with a multitude of toppings; a made-to-order deli station with panini sandwiches; a soup station with four offerings per day and self serve pasta station with four sauces to choose from daily. Phase 2 turned an ignored tunnel-style hidden venue into a location that students frequent on a regular basis.

“Porter Khouw Consulting has been a reliable and creative partner for SUNY Cortland for the layout and design of several renovation projects on our campus ranging from small face lifts to a major remodel of our large residential dining facility,” said Bill McNamara, former director of dining services. “Each time, they demonstrated a willingness to listen to our needs, work with campus departments and contractors, advocate on our behalf, and meet and exceed difficult timelines. Their experience and expertise was especially evident during a ‘two phase’ renovation of our residential dining facility.

“Our Porter Khouw-designed dining facilities are state of the art and have achieved the “‘wow” factor with both present and potential students as revenues, customer counts and satisfaction surveys in these facilities have dramatically increased. Overall, working with Porter Khouw has been a wonderful experience that has exceeded my expectations.”