Bauccio Commons gets an upgrade during break

Commons upgrades equipment to better experience for workers and students

By Molly Bancroft | February 9, 2024 12:00pm
New dishwasher with non-slip flooring. Photo courtesy of Joe Cates.

Over winter break, Bauccio Commons got a bit of a remodel. While it may not be visible to visitors, new appliances and designs in the kitchen area are posed to benefit all those around campus who use these services.

The official renovations include updated walk-in refrigerators, replacing the dishwasher while installing new non-slip flooring around it and installing a new blast cooler for the refrigerators. 

These projects weren’t originally in the works for this team. According to Joe Cates, director of facilities, the refrigerator specifically was near the end of its lifetime, clocking in at about 16-17 years old. When doing routine check-ups on the devices, both Cates and Matt Talavera, general manager of Bon Appétit, take into account each of the machinery’s general lifespan to try and plan refurbishments in advance. 

New walk-in fridges at the Bauccio Commons. Photo courtesy of Joe Cates.

They are preparing beforehand so that student food service won’t be interrupted due to a shutdown in the kitchen.

And these refurbishments aren’t a quick fix. Talavera explained that the installments began right at the beginning of winter break, and were finished on Jan. 5. But even before the appliances got here, it was a long process considering the time it took for them to be shipped and arrived. 

“They [operators] wanted to make sure that we didn’t run to failure,” Eric Barger, vice president of finance for UP said. “They wanted to make sure we could make decisions in time to get things done during Christmas break so that we wouldn’t have an interruption in student services.”

One of the key aspects of this project that Barger and Talavera worked closely with was funding. According to Barger, it wasn’t necessarily a money-draining project for their budget. 

Luckily, Talavera was able to get in contact with individuals at Bon Appétit, who donated the other half of funding required to bring the project into fruition.

Safety and sustainability were key elements in the decision to renovate in Commons. 

Providing safety for both workers and students is at the top of the list when considering renovations. Turning towards more environmentally-friendly products is something that they focused on during the decision process. 

The improved lighting and easier-to-move racks inside the walk-in refrigerators allow for better access for chefs and for inspections of produce and meats. Photo courtesy of Joe Cates.

Now with the Commons kitchen back up and running, Talavera has already begun to see the benefit of replacing these machines.

“It makes it so that our team has functioning equipment that they can rely on,” he said. “To be able to move in and out of the product and not have to be concerned about whether it’s going to break down or not.”

While touring the facility, Talavera was quick to point out the new benefits, especially in the walk-in fridge. He notes that better lighting and easier-to-move racks inside allow for better access for chefs and for inspections of the produce and meats. The lighting and new windows also allow for the staff to be able to see if there’s another worker already inside. 

Additionally, the new dishwasher cleans at a faster rate and can take more dishes. The non-slip flooring acts as an additional safety precaution for the kitchen due to potential for falls to occur with water on the ground.

Currently, there are no definitive plans for additional renovations to either Commons or Pilot House, but the current staff is glad to have the fresh additions to the kitchen

“It’s kind of a relief for us,” Talavera said. “It makes it so that we have to worry about less, since we already have to worry about a lot of different things.”

Molly Bancroft is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at