Fribley Dining Commons now open following complete transformation

Ribbon-cutting ceremony to take place Sept. 10

Enhanced dining options, reimagined student spaces and eye-catching designs are a few features guests can now expect at Fribley Dining Commons, located at the corner of Murray Hill Road and Adelbert Road. After being under construction for about a year and a half, what was once an outdated dining hall is now a vibrant, modern facility for the Case Western Reserve community to enjoy. 

To mark its reopening, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10. The event is open to faculty, staff, students and invited guests, and will take place on the lower level of the building, near the entrance.

Completed with feedback from CWRU students and in partnership with design firm Ayers Saint Gross and CWRU’s foodservice provider, Bon Appétit Management Co., the $19 million project boasts Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification, with significant upgrades to the building’s infrastructure—heating, cooling and plumbing. 

The redesign mainly focused on integrating the building with the surrounding neighborhood. This philosophy can be found in its new glass exterior on the north and south facades, welcoming natural light in the building and giving guests views of the local surroundings and a glimpse of main campus. 

Photo of the former interior of Fribley Commons
The former interior

Richard Jamieson, vice president of campus services, said the building’s new exterior has already had an immense impact on its heavily trafficked location.

“[The renovation] completely changed the appearance of the Murray Hill section of the South Residential Village,” he explained. “The building used to be obscure, now the entire corner is highly visible due to the new glass facade and illumination.”

As guests venture inside, they’re greeted by bright colors and open spaces that flow together seamlessly. Jamieson said previously, the dining area didn’t have strong functionality—interior spaces were limited, didn’t allow for adequate patron flow, and lacked ambiance. 

Fribley Commons, originally erected in the 1960s, is primarily a dining hall—but its second floor now resembles a small student center. The space offers enhanced office spaces, Amazon lockers, printing stations, and upgraded student meeting rooms and lounges.

Bon Appétit Resident District Manager Jim O’Brien said the redesigned facility is a “shining light” to a once overlooked part of the CWRU campus, and it offers everything a student in 2021—and beyond—should have available to them.

“[Fribley] has support services, modern study areas, and approachable food offerings presented by classically trained chefs and support staff who are tuned in to the dietary wants and needs of today’s student,” O’Brien explained. 

Those additions didn’t come as a surprise to some students, such as Cameron Tong, president of the Residence Hall Association. He and fellow members of the student group were solicited for input on the redesigned seating arrangements, outlet placement, white boards and much more.

“It was great to see much of our feedback was implemented in the final design,” he said. “When I was walking through [recently], there were students on the top floor working on class or club work while the hustle and bustle of a typical dinner at a dining hall was happening below.”

As far as food options go, previous offerings have been enhanced; vegetarian options have been expanded, and there’s a brand new coffee bar and cafe that didn’t exist before—The Elephant Step Inn. The shop, open to the CWRU community, serves locally roasted Solstice coffee, Cleveland Bagel Co. bagels, pastries made by the CWRU Bon Appétit team, and grab-n-go salads and sandwiches prepared in-house by Fribley chefs.

The new Fribley also features: 

  • A microgreen growing cabinet that students will be able to watch grow, producing greens to be used in menu preparation (a partnership with University Farm).
  • An all-new, back-of-the-house kitchen and food prep area, as well as dynamic multi-station dining platforms integrated within the dining area.
  • A dedicated plant-forward station, complete with its own cooking equipment, utensils, storage and cooler so students can rest easy knowing there is no cross-contamination. (The station includes the full salad bar, vegetarian soups and daily made-to-order specials, and serves until 11 p.m. most nights, giving students a healthy alternative to typical late night options.) 
  • A new green space for outdoor seating, in addition to significant accessibility improvements from the main campus quad—achieved through the addition of an entryway on Murray Hill Road, efficient ADA ramps, and a cutout for shuttle bus drop-off and pick-up. An elevator was also installed inside the building.

“We’re pleased to have brought an enhanced dining facility to the south side of campus that is on par with the excellent facility we created a few years ago on the north side at Leutner Commons,” Jamieson said. 

Visit the Dining Services website to learn more about dining options at Case Western Reserve University.