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Rensselaer Alumni Magazine Spring 2006
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At Rensselaer

Rensselaer Union

Revamped Rathskeller

A bright, colorful ambience welcomes visitors to the Union’s Rathskeller.

A bright, colorful ambience welcomes visitors to the Union’s Rathskeller. Photo by Mark McCarty

Dining on the ground floor of the Rensselaer Union is an entirely new experience thanks to extensive renovations made to the Rathskeller, which were unveiled in a grand-opening ceremony on Feb. 13.

The revamped Rathskeller offers hungry students, faculty, and staff a new variety of food items, increased areas for laptop use, and a colorful atmosphere conducive for working individually and in groups, or for relaxing and socializing with colleagues.

“The students wanted a radical change in the ambience of the Rathskeller. [They needed] a place that was more laid-back to suit their needs,” says John Fusco, resident district manager for Sodexho, Rensselaer’s hospitality provider. “The new space serves as a place for students to work or gather and socialize in a comfortable environment.”

Students’ input was taken into consideration during every phase of the project, even down to selecting the room’s furniture and color schemes, according to Fusco.

The $475,000 renovation includes new tables and chairs to accommodate groups of four to eight individuals, bar-style seating, and an open sitting area with sofas and easy chairs. Additional outlets and Ethernet ports allow for increased wired and wireless Internet access, and aesthetic upgrades such as new tiles, lighting, carpeting, and a raspberry-painted ceiling complete the Rathskeller’s makeover.

An improved menu features original and new fare choices with combo-style offerings for beverages or side items, and bimonthly specials. A variety of hot and cold submarines, globally inspired healthy wraps, grilled food items, and pizza, stromboli, and calzones can be found at four food stations.

“I remember sitting on the business operations committee, researching and discussing possible layouts and designs for the Rathskeller,” says Peter Baldwin, president of the Rensselaer Union. “Three years later, the space has been transformed. The new seating, lighting, and furniture in the Rathskeller extend the dining experience far beyond the confines of food.”

The Rathskeller renovation is among a series of recent upgrades and improvements to Rensselaer’s campus dining experience. Changes include the addition of a new coffeehouse, expanded offerings at campus retail eateries, and specialized menus and dishes in the dining halls.

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