D-Hall bids adieu
Iconic dining facility reduced to a memory
SUMMARY: D-Hall has been a part of the JMU fabric since 1964, so it's a part of a lot of memories. There are a lot more dining options on campus now than there were in the sixties, but D-Hall continued to be a main attraction, feeding thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors right up to the end.
We live in turbulent and uncertain times. Britain is leaving the European Union, a tumultuous U.S. presidential campaign is heading for the homestretch and D-Hall has been ripped to shreds, literally.
OK, the demolition of D-Hall, or Gibbons Hall, if you prefer, doesn't have quite the significance of the other events, at least on a global scale, but for the JMU Nation, it's difficult. Can you imagine walking through the commons and not seeing it? Can you imagine giving directions to a visitor and not being able to tell them, "Go to the round building and then . . ."
D-Hall has been a part of the JMU fabric since 1964, so it's a part of a lot of memories. There are a lot more dining options on campus now than there were in the 60s, but D-Hall continued to be a main attraction, feeding thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors right up to the end.
A new dining hall will be built where the original has been, but it won't be round, it will be square. Really? Isn't that a little like trying to put a square peg in a round hole? The drawings of the new dining hall show it will be a nice fit. But why tear down a landmark? Blame aging infrastructure and the growing student population.
"There have been several significant repairs to the building systems, such as plumbing, that has and will continue to require extensive updating," said Angela Ritchie, marketing manager for JMU Dining Services. "And the student population has also grown significantly." Both aspects were taken into consideration in a study that concluded replacing Gibbons Hall was more cost-effective than renovating it, she said.
Construction of the new three-story dining hall will begin as soon as the remnants of the old one are removed—and you can help with the cleanup—sort of. Bricks from the structure are available for $100 donation and proceeds from the sales of the bricks will support student scholarships (Fund 1002781 – Division of Administration and Finance Scholarship Brick Effort).
Since the new dining hall will not open until fall 2018, a temporary dining facility, called D-Hub, has been set up in the R-1 commuter parking lot next to Long Field-Mauck Stadium on Dukes Drive. D-Hub serves a similar menu to D-Hall, and like D-Hall, diners can eat as much as they desire. "Our students will still get to enjoy all their favorites—pizza, pasta, burgers, the entrée station, salad bar, deli and of course, desserts," Ritchie said. "We will also continue to offer vegetarian, vegan and options made from ingredients not containing gluten."
And yes, buffalo mash and grilled cheese Thursdays will continue as well.
D-Hub will also have walk-up windows so students can grab breakfast sandwiches, pizza and burgers to go. A second temporary facility is being set up behind Moody Hall to house Chick-fil-A, and next to it will be a food truck hub where the Starbucks truck and two other food trucks will be parked. One of the food trucks will be the student-created "Fueled," which will feature a local, healthy menu with an Asian Fusion flare; the second will offer a Mexican option.
When the new D-Hall opens, it will have a piece of the original—an oven that has been used at JMU since the 1930s. The old oven will be used in a bakery located on the first floor of the new building. "With a history of over 75 years, we couldn't resist designing this oven into the new dining hall," Ritchie said. "Just about every Duke has more than likely eaten a product that was baked in this oven."
The first floor also will house Chick-fil-A and will feature some new options to JMU, such as Qdoba; Steak and Shake; and Freshens Food Studio, which offers rice bowls, salads and flat breads. Steak and Shake will have a walk-up window for extended hours. Market will also return with some updated offerings.
"We're excited to offer students additional seating, including indoor and outdoor options with entrances right off the commons," Ritchie said.
The second floor will feature the all-you-can-eat buffet in a larger, more open environment with expanded menu options. It will also have balconies with outdoor seating.
The third floor will have space for banquets, similar to the Montpelier Room in E-Hall.
"We all have special stories about D-Hall," Ritchie said, "but the new D-Hall gives us the opportunity to serve the JMU community in a new and updated way."
Published: Monday, June 27, 2016
Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016