Award-Winning Renovation to University of Saint Joseph’s Campus ‘Hub’

In the fall of 2018, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) welcomed men on campus for the first time in the school’s 86-year history. The transition from a private women’s school to a coeducational campus coupled with the addition of a NCAA Division III basketball program necessitated an expansion of the McGovern Hall’s amenities for dining, socialization, studying and campus events. The project team was tasked with designing a facility that could easily be transformed from a dining room with varied seating to a private event space, all while preserving space for student collaboration and social interaction.

The renovation to the dining spaces included the dishroom, expansion to the back-of-house storage spaces, seven all-you-care-to-eat micro-restaurants, and a retail café. The micro-restaurant concept approach was the perfect solution to modernizing the dining program, while enhancing the opportunity for students to interact with the dining staff.

Jay’s Nest, the retail café, features brand-name coffee and teas, smoothies, snacks and quick-to-prepare meals. Jay’s Nest is strategically located near one of McGovern Hall’s entrances to easily accommodate the late night service needs for students.

The micro-restaurants include:

  • Al Dente features personal, thin-crust, 10-inch pizzas baked in a gas-fired hearth oven; herb-seasoned breadsticks, lasagna and other pasta dishes.
  • Classics & Co offers homestyle meals for dinner, such as roasted vegetables, ginger miso tofu, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, and fried chicken.
  • Stack features made-to-order deli sandwiches, soup, and salads.
  • Plant Forward offers a variety of made-to-order plant-based meals.
  • Grill House prepares breakfast items such as made-to-order omelets, pancakes, and scrambled eggs. At lunch, the Grill House features burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and other hot sandwich menu items.
  • Simple Servings provides allergen-free menu items for lunch and dinner.
  • Demo Daily is a chef action station featuring stir fries, lo mein noodle and ramen bowls.

This beautiful, on-trend campus ‘hub’ received CREW Connecticut’s Best Interior Design Project Blue Ribbon Award. CREW Connecticut is the leading organization for senior-level executive women in Connecticut commercial real estate.


Client: University of Saint Joseph
Location: Hartford, CT
Size: 27,000 SF
Project Team: Centerbrook (Architects, Interior Design), Bakergroup (Interior Design, Foodservice Consultants), BVH Integrated Services (Engineers), FIP Construction (Construction)
Photo Credit: Derek Hayn/Centerbrook

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