Renovated dining facility at NU

Thu, Aug 25th 2016 02:05 pm

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY — Niagara University broke ground last month on an $8 million renovation and expansion of its dining facility located at Clet Hall.

The new 20,000-square-foot Clet Dining Commons will open this fall with numerous improvements, including an open kitchen concept with new food preparation, serving areas and seating options, including banquette/booth seating. A patio with green space has been added, along with a new dining addition with seating for 230. The addition can also be used as a theater-style setup, with a projector and presentation screen. Students will have access to mobile device charging stations, digital televisions and displays.

The renovation is focused on energy efficiency. The facility will feature new rooftop units, kitchen equipment, and a dishwashing machine, all of which will save on utility expenses.

The university is receiving support from Metz Culinary Management, its on-campus food service contractor. In addition, NU has been working with local legislative leaders, including New York Senator Robert G. Ortt and Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, '75, M.S.Ed.'78, to make the project possible.

"We are continuously seeking to improve the student experience at Niagara University while also meeting an increasing demand for on-campus event and dining facilities," said Father James J. Maher, CM, president. "This project has truly been a collaborative effort, involving students, employees and our partners at Metz Culinary Management. We are also grateful to Sen. Ortt and Assemblyman Ceretto for their support."

"The new and improved dining commons will provide our students and university community with a state-of-the-art facility that aligns with our enduring pledge to maximize our commitment to excellence and showcase the beauty of our campus surroundings."

In January, students were invited to participate in a presentation for the new dining hall and vote on concepts for the interior design.

Preliminary construction on the facility, including the installation of construction fencing, began April 11. Construction is expected to continue throughout the summer.

"I was pleased to help secure this funding to make the dining hall renovation and expansion a reality for the students of Niagara University," said Ortt. "It will transform the facility into a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly space where students can unwind, enjoy each other's company, and collaborate with others on campus. This money will allow NU to thrive in our local economy and become an even bigger draw for high-quality students, locally and nationwide."

"The renovation of Clet Hall will offer a state-of-the-art dining experience for Niagara University students," added Ceretto. "The student body will love the new look and new amenities that will be available at the completion of this project. I am excited to be here today to celebrate the groundbreaking at my alma mater, and to have been able to request funding for this project. Go Purple Eagles!" Progress of the project can be monitored via a webcam at

"We are looking forward to forming a long-term partnership with Niagara University and working in the beautiful, newly renovated dining commons," said Jeff Metz, president and CEO of Metz Culinary Management. "Metz prides itself on providing restaurant-inspired hospitality, and we look forward to offering Niagara University guests healthy, sustainable, locally-sourced food options, while introducing popular national brands to the university."

The building is named for Francis Regis Clet, a Frenchman who served as a Vincentian missionary in China for the last 30 years of his life. The multi-use complex now serves as a residence hall and dining commons, while also housing the spectacular William P. and Marie Leary Theatre and Elizabeth Ann Clune Centre for Theatre.

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