• Penland dining hall, South Russell get new looks

    Left, Penland Crossroads; Right, South Russell Hall

    Penland — Baylor’s “crown jewel of campus dining”? South Russell — a 21st-century residential hall?

    It’s a new day at Baylor in more ways than one. As the eyes of Baylor Nation have been focused on McLane Stadium’s rise on the banks of the Brazos, other projects have also been underway elsewhere on campus. In addition to the stadium, the beginning of the fall semester saw the opening of the newly renamed Penland Crossroads dining hall and the renovated South Russell Hall.

    With 1,100 indoor and outdoor seats and vastly improved food variety, the new Penland Crossroads is now “the crown jewel of campus dining,” as Director of Dining Services Brett Perlowski put it. Expanding out the back of Penland all the way to 4th Street gives an additional 24,000 square feet, making it the largest dining hall on campus. Crossroads features open, kitchen-less cooking areas (similar to Baylor’s most recent new dining hall, at East Village), including a full wok, smoker, fresh tortilla machine and bakery.

    [SEE PHOTOS of Penland Crossroads’ new look.]

    Pork tenderloin, sausage and ribs from the new smoker have been particularly popular. Penland Crossroads also offers a series of diet- and allergy-friendly options, including vegan and no-gluten-added foods. There’s even a dietician/nutritionist on staff. Last but not least, Penland now has its own P.O.D. convenience store.

    Built in 1967, South Russell has also undergone some much-needed updates. Rooms are now furnished with movable furniture, including a loft bed, desk and chest of drawers, even in the 19 new single-occupant rooms. The door locks can be opened via a phone app or text if students are locked out.

    [SEE PHOTOS of South Russell, post-renovation.]

    A full kitchen is available for residents and their guests, along with new quiet study spaces and community lounges, a game room and fitness room, and a reflection room for meditation and prayer. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building, even in individual rooms. And the hall now has a dedicated space for faculty-in-residence (Dr. Mona Choucair, BA ’86, PhD ’00, is the first) as well as improved living spaces for the hall director and resident chaplain.

    South Russell is the first of Baylor’s traditional residence halls to have received the year-long remodel; work on North Russell is currently underway, with plans to renovate Martin, Penland, Collins, Alexander, Allen-Dawson and Memorial over the next 7-10 years.

    Sic ’em, Bears!