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The Future: Hot Pockets Ahead

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Within seven years, Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) will recreate most House dining halls in the image of Eliot and Kirkland.

The renovations will proceed with Lowell and Winthrop--which will share underground facilities--after Commencement 2000. Schedules for the remaining halls are still under consideration, though Leverett House will likely be next.

Just a few months away from their House makeover, staff inWinthrop are worried about what they've heard from friends in Eliot and Kirkland.

"I saw what they did upstairs [in Eliot], and I don't think that they put much planning into it," says a Winthrop chef. "It's tight--everybody's always bumping into each other."

He has seen initial blueprints for Winthrop, and hopes that HUDS will learn from its mistakes. Winthrop and Lowell kitchens are even smaller than those in Eliot and Kirkland, he says.

"I have to deal with it every day, and even if it is not done right, I'm just hoping they learn and don't bring it down here," he adds.

Members of the Lowell general staff share his concerns, and add that they have not been consulted at all.

"Even if we're unhappy about it, they're not going to take any opinions from us," says a Lowell staff member.

Of what they have seen already in their halls--new methods of soup preparation and ceramic dishware--they're not impressed.

Extra lifting and back pains don't equal improvement to them, they say.

But Alixandra E. McNitt, assistant director for marketing and communications for HUDS, says the directors will work closely with the staff for feedback, like they have done with the completed halls.

"[Eliot and Kirkland staff] all know inherently there is a burden on them. They are the guinea pigs," she says.

She calls the renovations an on-going process.

"We need to go back to Eliot and Kirkland and find out what things work and don't work," McNitt says. "We're going back to the staff now that things have leveled out."

--GEOFFREY A. FOWLER and VICTORIA C. HALLETT

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