By Leah Sander
WINONA LAKE — Food is the main reason that Grace College students and staff enter the school’s Alpha Dining Hall.
Yet students are fed there in more ways than one, as speakers discussed during the dedication for the hall’s renovation Friday, Oct. 1.
On that date, the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce also had a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the $5.5 million revamp of the hall.
The project, paid for by donations, includes more food stations, a spruced up kitchen and a lobby with a fireplace. There’s now space for at least 400 people, a 25% increase in seating from before, and those dining have multiple seating arrangements to chose from, including booths.
The project was completed in time for the start of the fall semester.
The dedication Friday was held in the hall’s new lobby. Speakers included Grace President Dr. Bill Katip, Student Body President Kiersten Martin, Board of Trustees Chairman Dan Renner and Executive Vice President Dr. Drew Flamm.
Flamm kicked off the speeches and reminded those present of what students and staff gain from coming into Alpha Dining.
“Today we are celebrating the dedication of a new building, but more than that, this is a building, it’s a place where we gather and celebrate the joy of being together in the Christ-centered community that makes Grace College unique,” he said.
“Today we are dedicating the $5.5 million dollar Alpha Dining project,” he continued. “And we want to celebrate all that God has accomplished through our donors and through the construction team that has worked tirelessly over the last only five or six months. We want to dedicate this space most importantly to God’s glory and for it to be a place where students gather for years to come to grow in Christ.”
Katip thanked various entities, including the project’s donors, construction and design team and Grace leaders who oversaw the project. He also praised God.
“We praise the Lord that this year since this building has opened, our students have been back in classes and they’ve been back enjoying this beautiful, beautiful facility,” he said. He then prayed.
After the event, Katip shared more with media about what the project means to the Grace community.
“We’re just so excited what it’s done,” he said. “They can have family inside the facility, they interact. Teams come in and dorms and it just makes it such a better environment to eat like we do in our homes.”
During her speech, Martin shared anecdotes regarding how people have used the hall.
She later shared more thoughts with media about the project.
“We’re just so thankful for this opportunity to have a new dining hall that creates a space – we don’t have a student center on campus – it creates a space that everyone wants to be and sit in,” she said. “There were a lot of people eating today that grabbed slushies as they came in and it’s a great alternative if you even just want to hang out during the day instead of grabbing a meal, so it’s a great place that we’re really, really blessed to have.”