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Bell Tower Place in Ogden Hall ‘spices up’ campus

After a 22-month renovation, Ogden Hall’s dining facility re-opened to students this week with a new name, Bell Tower Place. Also new is a state-of-the-art concept in food preparation.

Students are familiar with campus brands like "Home Style Traditions" and "Pizza Pi." Both are included in the renovated dining hall, along with "Sonora Stop," "Sunrise Bakery," "The Bell Tower Coffee Company," "Campus Grill and Steak House" and "Uncle Phil’s Deli." All are arranged in attractive, themed stations in a food court. What’s new is "Miami Spice," a noodle-based menu format.

The station uses induction cook tops allowing food to be prepared quickly, according to Mike Mitroi, executive manager of Bell Tower for the department of housing, dining and guest services. The highly efficient system uses an electric heat source and pans made of a special alloy that cause the two to bond "like a magnet," he explained.

"It also allows students to participate in the production of their meal," said Mitroi. Students choose fresh ingredients in a market-style format and pass them directly to the cook. Students also pick their sauce of choice.

Bell Tower Place’s stations are designed for maximum efficiency and ease of movement, as Ogden previously served up to 1,000 people in a lunch shift. Seating was expanded, with 400 seats now available including 60 in a new outdoor plaza café.

"It’s been a great project," said Mitroi, adding, "It was a privilege to see it come off the drawing board and now to see the reaction of our customers."

A Miami team worked with GBBN Architects of Cincinnati on the renovation and design for Bell Tower Place. The team visited other university dining facilities as part of the planning process, including those at Duke, Notre Dame and Tufts. A commercial operation in Toronto inspired the eclectic look, said Mitroi. The architects developed the color schemes and large finish work, housing and guest services senior interior designer Elaine Brandner chose the dining room furniture and other design touches, and environmental graphic designer Lynne Wagner did the unusual and creative signage.

In addition to the first floor dining hall renovation, the $6 million Ogden project updated the 1921 building to meet accessibility and building code standards including the addition of fire safety devices and installation of new water and sewer lines.

Bell Tower Place offers dine-in or carry-out service; hours are 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.

Date Published: 10/21/1999
Volume: 19   Number: 13

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