ETSU is terminating its long-term contract with the food service provider it has worked with for a couple of decades.

The termination of this contract is due to the renovations to the D.P. Culp Center, which will, in effect, cause the contract to expire.

ETSU plans to appoint a food service agency to work with a design team on the renovations of the Culp Center. Three primary food service vendors – Aramark, Sodexho and Chartwells – are being considered, but other, smaller agencies are also in the running.

The university is considering all applicants and evaluating them upon how well they will work with the university’s design team. This means that Aramark still has the opportunity to renew its contract.

Aramark currently employs 135 workers on the ETSU campus. As part of ETSU’s proposal, the food service provider chosen for the new contract will be required to give first preference to existing Aramark employees when filling new positions.

In previous renewals of the university’s contracts, many existing employees were hired, even if there was a change in companies.

“The new contract will be effective July 1, 2016,” said David Collins, vice president for finance and administration. “If there is a change in companies, there will be a transition plan in place.”

Renovations are expected to occur in the Marketplace this summer, but ETSU will ensure that there are food services available at all times.

“We are expecting an entirely new concept this fall with anytime dining in the Marketplace from 7 a.m. to midnight,” Collins said.

“This will be true anytime dining, with students purchasing plans being able to enter and eat as many times as they want at any time during the open hours.”

While other changes will likely occur, this is the main change in food services that will directly affect students.

The expected $41 million renovation of the Culp Center is expected to begin after an approximated year-long planning and designing process. ETSU hopes to appoint a designer to take on this year-long task by the end of this month. The designs are expected to be complete and renovations expected to commence by the summer of 2017. No exact information has been released on potential members of the design team.

Students need not worry, as no specific changes to the food contract are expected to have any effect on student or university activities and events. Collins added that the university hopes to have better food experiences in the future.