UR Dining Services has recently decided to postpone renovations of the Pit in Wilson Commons that were scheduled to take place over the summer, due to insufficient funding caused by the declining economy.
Director of Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations Cam Schauf spoke about the alternative smaller renovations that will take place in Douglass Dining Center and Danforth Dining Center this summer.
According to Schauf, a more substantial renovation of these dining halls will occur over a span of seven years.
‘We want to make sure that we are always improving and there are noticeable changes every time students come back in the fall,” Schauf said.
The summer renovations have not been finalized because Dining, until about two weeks ago, put all of its energy on plans to renovate the Pit.
Schauf hoped that within the next month and a half, Dining will have a better understanding of its 2009 summer projects.
Schauf explained that specific plans to renovate the Pit have been delayed, not cancelled.
The Pit is expected to undergo a complete ‘gut renovation” in the future. Walls, including the one dividing the cash registers and the food service stations, will be taken down to give the area a more open feel. The plans for an Asian wok station and a Mexican station are also in progress.
One of the reasons why it is difficult to discuss future dining plans is because they are finalized in March after all tentative plans have been discussed with organizations that help with dining improvement at UR, such as the Dining Committee.
Schauf presented potential pricing for next year’s meal plans at Tuesday night’s Dining Committee meeting. Meal plans will still be linked to Residential Life again in the fall, and their prices have not been formally approved yet.
However, Schauf acknowledged that Dining faces several obstacles of rising market prices, a situation that dining programs in universities nationwide will face in the upcoming year.
‘The school budget is in pretty good shape as compared to what it could have been in today’s economic condition,” he said.
‘Dining Services’ plans are tentative because we want to make sure that we have taken in all the information and incorporated it into our plans for the fall,” Schauf said.
Freshman Catherine Chu follows University dining developments and felt it was a pity that renovations were postponed.
‘I am satisfied with what Dining Services has done for us thus far,” Chu said. ‘It’s unfortunate that the Pit renovations have had to be postponed, but under the circumstances, it’s perfectly understandable. I am looking forward to the improvements in dining next year.”
Students’ Association Senator and sophomore Dale Levine, who regularly attendee of the Dining Committee meetings, was disappointed that the projects were delayed but looks forward to future Dining plans.
Dining releases a survey in the fall and spring to evaluate student opinion. The changes for the summer will be finalized once students’s opinions are heard at the Dining Committee meeting in upcoming months.
Schauf mentioned that food quality, consistency and customer service were the three areas that, according to students in the surveys, had to be improved the most.
Dining Services has investigated all of the food stations and tried to figure out which stations were most popular amongst students. Dining hopes to enhance the stations that are getting the most customers and decide if the slower stations should be replaced or improvements could be made.
Schauf said that there are some stations that are slower than others but they serve students who would not be able to be served if the stations were replaced.
‘Dining Services looks at what is not selling, why it is not selling and what can be done to improve on it so it does sell,” he said.
Schauf is also disappointed that the Pit renovations have been postponed, but he said that Dining Services is always looking for ways to improve and fulfill the needs of the students. Changes in dining halls on campus are guaranteed to occur this coming summer and Dining Services hopes to continue with Pit renovations in the future.
Hasan is a member of the class of 2012.