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Famous faces adorn Kerr Hall walls

Bryant CanzoneriDining at Kerr Hall now feels like dining in the midst of Texas history.

Led by Dining Services, the new Kerr Dining Hall has been remodeled to include the history, imagery and famous people of Texas, Denton County and UNT.

The dining hall features three newly designed areas:

  •  “The Garage,” with neon signs evoking a 1950s diner, and glass windows covered in prints of a vintage Texas roadmap a glass wall showing the birthplaces of famous Texans
  • “The Library,” which features a timeline of Denton’s history and will soon feature soft-seated booths
  • “Denton Square,” in which serving lines are transformed into Denton landmarks, such as the Evers Hardware Company becoming the Evers Silverware Company.

The entrance features images of the first motorcycle cop in Texas, a 1920s fire department drill and UNT’s mascot “Scrappy” the eagle from 1940. The birthplaces of famous Texans are highlighted on a giant map, and famous alumni, such as Mean Joe Greene and musician Norah Jones, are featured in bios throughout the hall.

Dining Services Executive Director Bill McNeace gave staffers a lot of latitude in what direction they could take for the long-needed Kerr Hall facelift.

But the theme came together when one of the student designers, senior communication design major Isabella Vasquez, said many students don’t think Denton was as cool as Dallas or Austin.

“We basically wanted to say to students, ‘You picked a great school in a great town in a great state. Here's why … ” graphic designer Bryant Canzoneri, above, said.

Canzoneri was responsible for either creating or overseeing the artwork for the eight-month project. He was helped with the artwork by student designers such as Vasquez and senior communication design major Mary Stratton. Special projects director Ken Botts, associate director Peter Balabuch, director Shohreh Sparks and marketing specialist Chelsea Rainer were key members of the team, who met frequently to discuss ideas and review progress.

Dining Services also received help on historical information from the Denton County Historical Society, 35 Denton, UNT Archives and Rare Books and University Relations, Communications and Marketing.

“It is a very satisfying experience,” Canzoneri said. “It's also a relief, because no matter how diligent I've been in my work, I'm never completely at ease until I see the finished product, since there are so many things that can go wrong. It's very cool to walk into a space and be completely surrounded by something that you had a hand in creating.”

Dining Services recently has made some other changes including:

  • The Go! Station at Wooten Hall has a new Espresso Bar that carries Peet’s Coffee &Tea, the first on a university campus in the state of Texas. The food station also now features fountain drinks and more grab-and-go and pastry items.
  • A new macaroni and cheese bar has been added to the Mia’s Mediterranean in the University Union, Campus Chat. Executive Chef Pierre Monticolombi created four mac-n-cheese dishes - Chicken Florentine Mac, Chicken Caesar Mac, Nacho Mac and Ballpark Mac – that cost less than $3.
  • The Butcher’s Son food truck, which serves gourmet sandwiches and specializes in brats and sausages, will visit campus from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Thursday near Curry Hall.

“We listen to the students and what they want,” Botts said, noting they’ve received suggestions from a Student Food Advisory Committee, a student secret shopper program, comment boards in the dining halls and online feedback. “We just listen and respond. Our best ideas come from the students when we ask ‘How can we serve you better?’”

-          Jessica DeLeón, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

(Above, Canzoneri in the Kerr Hall dining room. Photo by Gary Payne.)

Posted on: Mon 04 March 2013

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