Joseph Salamon, News Editor

For the first time ever, the Nosh, the student dining area on the first floor of the Millennium Student Center, underwent renovations. Students, faculty, and staff alike now have greater and more comfortable seating options.

Since the Millennium Student Center opened its doors in 2000, the Nosh has served as a main gathering place for anyone at UMSL who wants to eat lunch, finish homework, or simply gather with friends. The renovations to the space, which have been over half a decade in the making, accommodate a greater diversity of groups.

UMSL began working on the renovation project four years ago, with assistance from architect Bob Winters and the Ottolino Winters Huebner firm. The main goal of the project was to create a space in which all students would feel comfortable while also making an impression on visitors.

Due to budgetary restrictions, renovations halted and the university spent the next few years setting little bits of money aside until the project started back up in March of 2017 and was officially greenlit in November of the same year.

Miriam Roccia, assistant dean of students for Campus Life, played a major role in the renovation project. She noticed that the seating arrangements were often restrictive to UMSL’s wide variety of students who spend time on the first floor of the MSC.

“Folks are a little apprehensive to sit with people they don’t know,” Roccia stated. “We needed a better mix of furniture that was more intentional and balances the line of groups that wanted a big space with individuals who wanted to be alone.”

The Student Center acts as a gathering space for all of campus, as students from all different academic backgrounds pass through on a daily basis. Many of those students stop at The Nosh.

Roccia realized the importance and impact that the Nosh has on students, and demonstrated that by asking many student staff members for their opinions on what furniture would make the beloved gathering place more attractive and modern.

The committee overseeing the project wanted to recognize and reward students who wanted to sit alone. “We wanted to make sure they weren’t backed in a corner, but rather got the best view,” Roccia stated. With that in mind, the renovated space will feature new bar-height tables along the windows looking out across the field to the North Campus pond.

Cushioned booth seating curved around the wide pillars is another new feature students will be able to enjoy in the Nosh. The committee also moved to have electrical outlets installed in the pillars so that students can charge their laptops or phones in a more centralized location.

By utilizing the pillars that had previously only served a structural purpose to the building, Roccia sees a seemingly innocuous change that could have a major impact on student life.

“There’s definitely a lot of purpose to what we choose to renovate and how we do it,” Roccia stated. “Feedback we’ve already gotten from students has been really positive. Things like this can be community changing.”

Other upgrades to the Nosh include new furniture in the Quarters space that is more conducive to its programming functionality. Roccia and the committee also decided to add blue paint to the ceiling as a nod to the aluminum facing on the outside of the building.

The renovation project cost $275,000, with $125,000 paid for by the university’s contract agreement with the food service company Sodexo, and the remaining $150,000 paid for by UMSL.

Roccia sees the cost as an investment in the future of life at UMSL, from current to prospective students. “This is all really important because it’s a space that students travel every day, and where prospective students visit. They may not get the full classroom experience, but they certainly get to see the Nosh.”

The Nosh is expected to reopen to students on January 29.