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In budget? Campus drops $17,000 on dining hall table

Andrew Hudson   ||   May 04, 2016  ||   

It's always the bizarre stories that get the most attention. The University of New Hampshire has seemingly learned this the hard way as it's facing some scrutiny after the decision to purchase a $17,000 custom-made chef's table, complete with LED lights, hit national newswires.

In total, the table cost a reported $17,570 and seats up to 16 diners in a community-table fashion at the university's Holloway Commons dining facility. The cost of the table nearly matches that of a year's worth of in-state tuition and fees at the university.

It appears that the scrutiny has since given way to some regret as a UNH spokeswoman told The Associated Press that having a chef's table was a good idea, though much less money should have been spent.

According to a report from UNH's student publication, The New Hampshire, the light-up table was specially designed for UNH by Chicago-based Seating Concepts and is constructed, in part, with reclaimed metal railings from UNH's original Holloway Commons infrastructure. The table also features a controllable LED lighting system.

The table is one of a host of improvements made to the dining facility as part of a larger $10.5 million dollar renovation project that's been taking place over the last year -- a project that includes all new furniture and building components.

According to university officials, the $17,570 price tag for the table included delivery from the workshop in Chicago, which the university deemed a reasonable price for a custom piece of furniture made exclusively for UNH.

University officials go on to say that the table does more than just light up, as it will also feature "culinary demonstrations on one side, allowing guests to sit on the other end while enjoying the experience."

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