Changes to food services at ETSU will come sooner rather than later, with Sodexo – the university’s newly selected food service provider – taking over all food service operations on May 23.
Joe Sherlin, vice president for Student Affairs, said that although the university is still working through the details, Sodexo will provide food for all summer activities, while also renovating the Treehouse and the dining areas in the D.P. Culp University Center.
“Sodexo will come in and redesign those spaces to provide a facility that will support our anytime dining model,” Sherlin said. “It’ll be refreshed and renovated over the summer, and it will be ready in the fall.”
As part of the university’s new anytime dining model, Sherlin said students will have access to several new dining features, including multiple food stations with expanded options, different types of seating and an outdoor grill on the patio.
Sherlin said Sodexo is spearheading the food service renovations based on the proposal it presented to the university during the selection process for a new food service provider.
“We could, in the future, move food service operations, for example, down to the first floor of the building,” Sherlin said. “So there may be additional [food service] renovations over the next three years, but this Marketplace renovation will serve us while we’re renovating the full Culp Center.”
As for the larger renovations to the entire building, Sherlin said he believes the university is still on track to finish the project in three years. The university is currently in the programming phase of the project, which Sherlin described as conceptual.
“We have a design team of architects and designers, and we have a group that specializes in developing programming for university center facilities around the country,” Sherlin said. “They work with us on the goals for the larger project to really ensure that we create a space that is the campus living room for our students.”
Sherlin said that because the university center will most likely continue to operate during the renovation process, the renovations will be completed in stages to allow offices and dining services to continue to function.
“Different elements of the building will be renovated at different times over the next three years,” Sherlin said.
“I would hope that by the beginning of fall 2017, students will begin to see the first phases of this renovation, and they’ll begin to get some idea of where we’re headed.”
Sherlin said he thinks Sodexo not only fits in with the university’s goals for food service, but also with the renovation process as a whole.
“I think they’re going to offer an outstanding level of service and quality related to the anytime dining model, so I really think it’s going to help the building be that hub for engagement that we want it to be,” Sherlin said. “It works hand-in-hand with the larger renovation.”
Though the university will go through a transition period as the renovations are taking place, Sherlin said he believes the end result will benefit the entire campus community.
“I think it all works together to support a larger vision of connecting students to each other, connecting them to the university and connecting them to the services and activities that are going to support their success,” Sherlin said. “The students who’ve been involved in the process are excited to get moving with this work and to see it come to fruition.”