Framingham State University
McCarthy Dining Commons Improvements

Framingham, MA

After decades of use, Framingham State University’s (FSU) main dining commons was in need of renovations. FSU and Massachusetts State College Building Authority (MSCBA) engaged MDS to design targeted improvements that modernize operations and revitalize the student dining experience.

 Reconfigured servery with new dining areas within the atrium

Reconfigured servery with new dining areas within the atrium

 New counter seating areas 

New counter seating areas 

The servery was reconfigured to create a more open, marketplace style environment that showcases cooking and offers students a stronger sensory experience with their meal prep. Two serving stations were relocated to expand the seating area within the two-story atrium, and new counter seating areas allow students to dine alongside cooking stations. New kitchen equipment enables FSU to offer a wider variety of culinary options, with an emphasis on healthy meal selections.

Sustainable materials, including bamboo, are central in the new finishes and furnishings. The main dining area was previously a large, open standardized space. Our design introduces a greater variety of finishes that shape different dining areas and provides students with a range of seating configurations. Check-in stations were also updated to enhance students' sense of arrival.


The open, marketplace style servery showcases cooking and offers students a stronger sensory experience with their meal prep.


New furnishings shape a range of seating options

 View into the reconfigured servery

View into the reconfigured servery

 Updated Dining Entrance

Updated Dining Entrance

Enthusiastically supported by students and the broader campus community, the project adds FSU’s first on-campus Dunkin’ Donuts on the upper level of the McCarthy Center. Campus surveys indicated this was strongly favored by students over the existing coffee kiosk. A summer construction schedule enables continued use of the Dining Commons during the academic calendar. The project will open for the Fall 2018 semester.


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