Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster's student lounge is going to look and taste a bit different this fall. That's because an extension of Ohio University's Auxiliary Services Department in Athens, Bobcat Essentials, is going to manage "The Zone" and will bring a new menu, along with new hours of operation. Bobcat Essentials is currently running the book store on campus.
"We're very excited about offering food service at Ohio University Lancaster," said Auxiliary Services Associate Director of Retail Operations Kent Scott. "We want to offer regional campus students a great service and connect with the types of services offered on the main campus, as well."
Bobcat Essentials makes fresh items daily in Athens using produce from local farmers. They will transport those items to Lancaster and sell them to students daily.
"We already have our menu planned out. We will have fresh bakery items, soups, salads and side salads, as well as pizza baked at OUL and a "Create Your Own" deli like what you would see at Subway," said Scott. "We also will have a salad bar and desserts.We will provide fresh, healthy items for students, faculty and staff."
"Because we are a commuter campus, we want to create places and opportunities for students to connect outside of class and to experience campus life." said Lancaster Campus Dean Jim Smith. "The partnership with Bobcat Essentials in Lancaster will create more campus life opportunities for our students to enjoy time with friends while enjoying a meal, snack or coffee."
"The Zone" has long been a partnership between Fairfield County Developmental Disabilities and Ohio University Lancaster to train DD clients for jobs. That relationship is strong and Kathy Dennison will continue as a job coach and train DD clients working at "The Zone."
"The new partnership is a benefit to all. Fairfield DD will continue to serve clients but will have the opportunity to engage in a larger menu and food service needs," said Smith. "Students will benefit from an expanded menu and Bobcat Essentials will serve more students."
"We're excited to work with Fairfield DD," said Scott. "We look forward to great things."
Scott was on campus last week to continue work on what items are needed to make and sell the new menu. Some equipment from Athens is already being brought in and set up in "The Zone." A new salad bar is on site. Open air coolers will be brought in to hold the pre-made items.
"In addition to the new menu and food options, we will have longer hours of operation and will accept credit cards," said Scott.
The plan is to open the first day of classes, August 26. Hours of operation will be Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There is also a plan for Bobcat Essentials to open a coffee shop on campus. It will be located in the mezzanine above the North Lobby entrance to Brasee Hall.
"It will be a Starbucks type coffee shop with hot and cold coffee options," said Scott. "Renovations to that space should begin late in the fall semester and continue into early spring semester." Other plans are being developed to modernize dining spaces and the coffee shop.
Bobcat Essentials is also providing food service at other Ohio University regional campuses.