An extensive $20 million renovation of this 1930s building at Phillips Academy, a residential secondary school in Massachusetts, provides a new foodservice operation in Paresky Commons. The judges felt the project thoroughly addressed the challenges of renovating such an old space and resulted in a well-integrated design with a sensible flow.

The project included replacing the kitchen and serveries and making the facility handicapped-accessible. Phillips Academy also wanted to create an environmentally responsible building that met Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification requirements while restoring the historic interiors.

The 42,480-square-foot Paresky Commons has four dining rooms that seat 556 people in 9,576 square feet; four serving areas that consume 7,202 square feet; a 1,848-square-foot kitchen; a 2,038-square-foot storage area; and an 864-square-foot dish room with pot washing.


The facility’s food preparation areas and multiple service stations on two floors serve 600 students at breakfast, 1,400 at lunch and 1,300 at dinner. A basement kitchen supports foodservice on both floors.

The first floor contains four culinary platforms, two in each of two servery areas. The second floor contains three platforms. Paresky Commons also includes an extended-hours café; a refurbished and expanded Den, a student snack and leisure area; new terraces and seating areas in front of Paresky Commons; and, along its west side, new lighting and other visual enhancements.

Judges appreciated the variety of dining options for customers. “We preferred that students and other guests feel as though this is a restaurant experience and can go to different locations to find what they like,” says Lenny Condenzio, FCSI, foodservice design consultant and principal, Ricca Newmark Design, who worked on the project (or something. Otherwise, it sounds like he’s a judge). In addition, the judges felt that the diverse equipment package, totally $3.144 million, nicely supports the various culinary platforms.

As generations of Phillips Academy students, faculty and staff dine and socialize in the newly renovated Paresky Commons, the new culinary experiences will add to the many individual and collective memories that will be integrated into the school’s fabric for many years to come.