Benson Center renovation continues into school year
The Santa Clara
September 20, 2018
Upon walking into Santa Clara’s own Benson Memorial Center, returning community members can’t help but be amazed by its transformation.
New circular lights illuminate clean checkered floors and all-new seating areas.
However, as one stands in line to assemble a salad, the lingering smell of paint and sight of caution tape serves as a reminder that there’s still work to be done.
Over the summer, Benson has seen a flurry of changes—all designed to enhance faculty and students’ dining experience on campus.
Robin Reynolds, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services, said that the renovation aims to “increase overall guest experience and engagement creating a focal point for both existing students and a great tour stop for potential students and parents.”
The list of modifications to Benson includes a new floor plan, expansion of the Bronco Patio and various new food venues.
Some of the new food options include “Pacific Rim,” which offers a noodle and rice bowl bar; “Globe,” a food station featuring a rotating menu with cultural flavors from around the world and “Mediterranean,” an inclusive alternative responding to the needs of vegan and vegetarian students.
Along with the new floor plan comes the creation of various distinctive seating neighborhoods.
The removal of the walls that previously surrounded the dining area will allow seating in Benson to be open longer, rather than getting locked up behind a glass wall when the dining area closes each night, as it had in the past.
The university also hopes that the open seating area will allow for more socialization in the space.
Additionally, three sections of the floor of the main level of Benson were taken out and will be replaced with glass to allow for more natural light to enter the basement of the building.
The Bronco Patio, previously an outdoor area with a few tables, has now been revamped to encompass the area between the Campus Bookstore and Benson under a sunroof that will bring in natural light and a new stage that will allow for performances.
Faculty overseeing the model hope that Benson’s usage goes beyond dining and will provide alternative areas for students to gather and study.
Currently, faculty and students appear to be enjoying and appreciating Benson’s makeover.
“What’s done looks really nice. It looks really modern and completely different, and I think once it’s completely done it will be “an amazing hall,” said first-year student Fernanda Prado.
As incoming first-years, everything we learned over the summer about Benson was the old way, it will definitely take some time adjusting to the new system.”
Despite the aforementioned additions, the unfinished renovations around the main floor are still easily noticeable.
Remnants of the ongoing construction include the temporary buffet-style meals being served during the first week of classes, the unfinished areas of construction scattered throughout and the fencing on the lawn between Swig Residence Hall and McLaughlin-Walsh Residence Hall.
The fencing on the Kennedy Lawn is part of the Benson renovation project and will be removed mid-October when the grass is replanted.
The Kennedy Lawn fencing serves as a reminder of the many places on campus that are currently fenced off and under renovation, displacing the previous image of Santa Clara’s well-maintained, open campus.
Following the completion of the dining area on the first floor of Benson, the next area slated for renovation is the basement of the building which will include a remodel of the Cellar Market.
Currently the plan is for the Cellar to be remodeled during summer 2019 and is set to open at the beginning of fall quarter 2019.
Contact Emma Pollans at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.