Kleiner Commons approved for $7.5M expansion


GVSU officials are anticipating an increase in student and non-student employment to staff the expanded dining hall. Courtesy GVSU

The popular dining hall on the north end of Grand Valley State University’s campus is expanding to meet the growing needs of students.

GVSU’s board of trustees last month approved a $7.5 million expansion to the Robert Kleiner Commons dining hall at 1 N. Campus Drive in Allendale.

The dining hall is located on the northeast end of the GVSU campus and is surrounded by 15 residence halls. James Moyer, associate vice president for facilities planning at GVSU, said the existing location of Kleiner Commons serves as a social center in addition to a food venue, and one of the reasons for choosing the location for the project was to increase efficiency for students.

“With the increased demand being placed on students to complete their education in the shortest possible timeframe, students are compelled to get through their daily tasks as efficiently as possible,” said Moyer. “Reducing the amount of time being spent in lines to obtain food is another of the many efforts that the university is using to assist students toward their graduation goals.”

The 18,000-square-foot expansion will house additional food preparation areas, food storage, seating accommodations, and faculty and administrative support offices, according to GVSU. 

With the expansion, the staff at Kleiner Commons will have the ability to expand food offerings to combat menu fatigue, Moyer said.

Currently, Kleiner Commons houses Marketplace, the C-Store and Java City. Marketplace offers Asian cuisine, a deli, pizza items, grilled food options, sushi and soup. Students can also choose from convenience store merchandise at the C-Store, such as frozen foods, snacks and breads, and coffee beverages at Java City.

With the expanded facility, the university is anticipating an increase in student and non-student employment; however, Moyer said staffing plans have not been finalized yet.

GVSU will use money from its general budget as well as funds contributed by Aramark, the university’s food services and facilities management vendor. 

The expansion was designed by Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, a Grand Rapids based architectural and engineering consulting firm. Construction will be completed by Triangle Associates of Grand Rapids.

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