By Sally Linder
Ohio University Dining Services will make changes in meal plans and dining venues for next academic year to better meet student needs and maximize efficiencies.
As a result of student input and analysis of dining patterns, new meal plans will go into effect fall quarter 2009. Plan holders can use a portion of their points in the Baker University Center and Alden Library food venues in addition to all dining halls and Grab n' Go take-outs.
"We heard over and over that students wanted their meal plans to apply to the retail food outlets -- not just dining halls. Now there are two plans where they have that option," said Gwyn Scott, executive director of culinary and dining operations.
The changes include modifying two standard plans so they are more flexible. The "flex" meal plans will provide $100 in points per quarter toward Baker's West 82, Front Room and Latitude 39 venues and Alden's Café BiblioTech. On these flex plans, students also get 14 or 20 meals a week at any dining hall or Grab 'n Go, depending on the plan, or they can redeem the unused portion at an on-campus market. Also, the smallest meal plan, known as the 10, will be retained, but only for students who have completed 45 credit hours or more. More information about meal plans is available at www.facilities.ohiou.edu/food/mealplans_options.htm, where the upcoming changes have been noted in red.
"I am especially grateful to our Student Dining Services Development Committee, which gave input that led us to offer these changes," Scott said.
In addition to the meal plan changes, Dining Services will close Bromley Dining Hall later this year as a cost-saving measure. It will remain open through the end of spring quarter to avoid disruption to current Bromley Hall residents.
According to Scott, Bromley Dining Hall has the fewest number of patrons and, unlike other dining venues, it primarily serves residents of its hall. Also, Bromley's kitchen needs approximately $900,000 in repairs that will not have to take place with the closing.
The closure also is expected to save the university approximately $368,000 annually in labor costs. This will come from two sources. First, with the closing of Bromley, there will be fewer student positions in Dining Services overall, but students who currently work in Bromley will be offered the option of working elsewhere in the Dining Services system.
And although bargaining unit positions will be eliminated in Bromley, Dining Services is working with bargaining unit leadership and has pledged to develop the best plan for reassigning employees to other unfilled or new positions.
"Our objective has been to focus on our primary goal of providing the highest quality dining experience to our customers. We believe we can do that and preserve the jobs of our current employees with minimal disruption," Scott said.
For managers, the same will apply. Dining Services will identify alternative assignments for the employees, who are in administrator classifications.
Eleven classified employees, two managers and 90 students currently are assigned to Bromley Dining Hall.
Baker University Center and Boyd Dining Hall are the most convenient alternatives for Bromley Hall residents, and both are within close walking distance. Boyd Dining Hall has the capacity to accommodate more sit-down customers and also offers a Grab n' Go market.
Residential Housing staff is pleased that a large space in an uptown location now will be available for student programs.
"Having this space will allow us a much more opportunity for programming. For the first time in this resident hall's history, we will have adequate, quality space for activities, and it's large enough for everyone in the hall or even others from West Green to join in," Christine Sheets, executive director of Residential Housing, said.
The space also will be available for events catered from Baker University Center and could even provide a source of revenue.
Beginning winter quarter 2010, the newly renovated Shively Dining Hall will reopen. It is the first dining hall to undergo renovations that will transform the traditional cafeteria into a modern to a state-of-the-art facility with more of a restaurant feel.