Case Study

Hilltop Commons

The University of Maine, Orono

The University of Maine is the largest college in Maine, with more than 11,400 undergraduate and graduate students. The 660-acre flagship campus in Orono includes three all-you-care-to-eat dining halls and five retail locations.

Hilltop Commons is located near the New Balance Student Recreation Center on Hilltop Road. Hilltop’s all-you-care-to-eat dining room is on the second floor “among the treetops” and includes made-to-order and self-service bars.

The recent renovation of Hilltop Commons called for a complete refresh of the dining hall without a total demolition. The project included refurbishing the main counters and replacing many of the ancillary millwork counters.

Crews also repositioned the existing drop-ins and added two QuickSwitch drop-ins. With QuickSwitch serving technology, each well is independently controlled, so the dining team can serve hot, cold and frozen foods side by side at the same time and switch between temperatures in less than an hour.

Read more details of the first part of the Hilltop Commons renovation in this blog post.

In addition to the work to the counters, a new paint scheme and décor enhancements were also a part of the renovation.

The project was completed in a tight timeframe and had a hard deadline of August 15: when the students would return to campus after summer break. These constraints made scheduling and communication critical.

According to the foodservice consultant managing the renovation, the project went very well. He was happy with the construction quality, the installation process and how the completed dining hall looked.

All the contractors worked together well to get the project delivered on schedule. The consultant also worked closely with LTI on this project and was complimentary of the team. “They’re great installers,” he said. “When they send their people to the job site they get to work, and they know what they’re doing. They also deal very well with the customer end user.”

The dining hall opened on time and the feedback from UMaine has been very positive. The team likes the look and the flow of the renovation, particularly the accessibility to the new elements: a salad bar, deli and soup station and a beverage counter.

UMaine welcomed students to the dining hall in August 2019 and has since hosted theme dinners, a make-your-own donut breakfast and wing night ― in addition to its variety of daily ethnic specialties and comfort food favorites.

Foodservice Consultant: Thomas McArdle, FCSI, Principal, TJM Consulting, Yarmouth, Maine