After more than 60 years of providing food to the needy, St. Anthony’s dining hall will serve its last meal Wednesday and move to a temporary structure across the street.
The closure comes in preparation for a $53 million project that will improve the dining hall – moving it from the basement to the first floor – and add senior housing.
When the dining hall opened in October 1950, it served nearly 400 meals on its first day of operation, said Karl Robillard, a spokesman for St. Anthony’s. Now, more than 3,000 meals are served daily.
The temporary space will house the dining hall for two years, Robillard said, but it will be worth the wait for the new facility.
“It’ll be more room,” he said. “It’ll be more comfortable and safer.”
In addition to the new dining hall, the construction project will move some of the St. Anthony Foundation’s other services, including a free clothing program and social work center, to the second floor. The top seven floors will be converted into affordable-housing units for seniors, funded by Mercy Housing.
The new building is expected to open by 2014.