Gwynn Hall, a building on the University of Missouri campus, re-opened following a 15 month renovation.
The new facility offers several new classrooms, offices, laboratories, and a state of the art research kitchen. The refurbishment began in October 2012 and finished up at the end of 2013, with the building re-opening on April 27.
Chris Hardin, is the Chair of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology at MU. He said he is excited about the new facilities at Gwynn Hall.
“A research kitchen has these capabilities, and it’s really comparable to any place in the country with those capabilities," Hardin said. "This is a very compact facility where the dining room also functions as an audience area for the teaching kitchen, as well as its own observational behavior laboratory. It’s compact, multifunctional and state of the art.”
Lana Merrick is a research chef at the facility. She says the new kitchen is great, especially compared to the makeshift facilities she was in before.
“I feel like a queen every day I come to work," Merrick said. "We have the best equipment. We have a lot of room and space, as well as our storage facility. It’s just amazing.”
The $11 million project was approved by the UM System Board of Curators in October 2013. At the time, Gwynn had repair needs tallying more than $9 million. A portion of the funding came from donors.
Hardin says another great aspect of their facility is the ability they have to do passive or interactive cooking demonstrations with new high-definition cameras.
“Part of the department is a huge nutrition extension component where we have a presence in every county in the State of Missouri," Hardin said. "We reach two-thirds of Missouri school children and the majority of WIC recipients in the state. So that in conjunction with the uses for our medical dietetics program will give a rich teaching experience.”
In addition to building renovations, desks have been upgraded. The majority of individuals in Hardin’s department now have desks with treadmills attached to them.