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How To Survive East’s Renovations Next Semester

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or hiding away in your dorm watching nothing but Netflix, you definitely know the planned renovations for East Halls starting this spring. According to Penn State, construction will occur on 45 percent of Johnston Commons, and the majority of it will be made to the dining options. Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s going to be different when you come back for the spring semester:

  • Bye, bye Fresh Express. If you live off of hoagies, you won’t be able to venture to the upstairs sandwich locale in the spring. But luckily, the Big O will expand its grinders option to include sandwiches with deli meats.
  • Sayōnara Asian Grille will be no more. The made-to-order hibachi and pot stickers will closed for the spring, and there will be no temporary replacement.
  • Findlay Commons is going to be closed, sort of. Half of the commons is closing, according to Housing and Food services. That means half of the dining options will be gone, so there will be less buffet options and seating upstairs.
  • Fisher Hall is closing. This hall is a hidden gem of East. Unfortunately, the many study rooms, lounges, and meeting rooms will not be available in the spring, as the building is being renovated.

Though your specific dorm probably isn’t being renovated, there’s going to be plenty of construction in East Halls. The already crowded Big O will likely see more traffic, and there will be less study space in Johnston Commons without Fisher’s study rooms. If you need to get away from the throngs of your fellow freshmen, here are some alternative places to study and eat close to East Halls:

  • Pollock: Pollock Commons has all of the same dining hall options as Findlay, but adds more variety. Pollock is a short walk down the road from East, so it’s not too far from home. Studying space in Pollock is limited, but the gaming room and cultural lounge can prove to be quick study spots to get some work done.
  • The Business Building: Smeal’s flagship building has a mixed greens salad bar and a Starbucks. There is plenty to eat in Smeal, and even more places to diligently study. It’s a hidden gem for eating on campus.
  • Creamery: Believe it or not, the Creamery has a tons of dining options other than ice cream. Fresh fruits and vegetables, hot Irving’s breakfast sandwiches, and a number of drinks and snacks — the Berkey Creamery will not disappoint when looking to eat.
  • Your own hall: Every hall has a lounge fitted with ample seating in the forms of tables and couches/chairs, and even has a TV, and a piano. Instead of hiking all the way to the library, studying in your own hall doesn’t even require you to put a coat or real shoes on.
  • IM building: If you’ve got a gym membership, there are places to study in the IM building right next to East. The lounge area has comfortable seats, TVs, and high tables where you can set up and get some work done after the grind in the gym.

For freshmen, heading to the HUB, library, or downtown is not always convenient when you need to eat or study, especially when the weather is cold, wet, or snowy. Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to survive East’s renovations. And even if you don’t live in East, these tips can help you find a quiet place to study on campus. As we all know, every season is construction season at Penn State.

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About the Author

Tim Reams

Tim Reams is a senior majoring in labor employment relations.

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