Cafeteria features salad bar, homestyle-cooked items, pizza station and more
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–College cafeteria food doesn’t always have the greatest reputation but a major summer renovation is about to change all of that at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC).
When students returned to classes for the Fall 2014 semester, many discovered the cafeteria had been replaced with a much-improved dining experience.
The renovated cafeteria, rebranded as “The Nest,” provides campus students with upgrades in food quality, variety, service, facilities and retail offerings.
The changes were set into motion when the current campus dining contract expired May 31.
A comprehensive college committee consisting of faculty, staff and students was selected to set specifications for the next service provider. That committee scored proposals from four companies based on factors including the quality of meal program options and overall improvements.
After an extensive review process, the committee unanimously recommended Aramark, which was subsequently awarded a contract by TVCC President Dr. Glendon Forgey and the Board of Trustees.
As part of the contract, Aramark agreed to make a number of capital improvements that have changed the look and feel of the campus dining space.
“Our intent was to improve the quality and options of our dining services for our students and our community,” TVCC Vice President of Student Services Dr. Jay Kinzer said.
“I think we have certainly done that.”
One of the highlights for students will be an increase in food options, with nine serving stations offering a variety of all-you-can-eat choices.
The Home Zone will offer:
• homestyle-cooked items.
• a grill for ordering hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and more.
• a pizza and pasta station.
• an “exhibition” station where food, such as omelets, will be made-to-order and prepared in front of the customer.
• a soup and sandwich station.
• a full-service salad bar.
• a breakfast bar.
• a dessert bar, and
• a beverage station that will increase the number of drink options to nine, including all-day juice, Vitamin Water and Powerade.
The increase in service areas is expected to reduce service time, Kinzer said, which will improve the overall student experience.
Aramark Campus Dining Director Cynthia Crouch said special-themed foods will also be offered during holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Mardi Gras.
“The kids have really enjoyed it,” Crouch said, of the renovations and improved offerings.
“Everyone has been really excited. This is all for the students, we want them to be able to enjoy it.”
New signage will also be included in The Nest, and four flatscreen televisions are being installed for entertainment and informational purposes.
There is also a “Healthy for Life” information center that provides a rundown of nutritional facts for items being served that day.
Plans are in the works to soon be able to allow students to access nutritional information via the Internet and through a smart phone app.
Another part of the project includes a renovation of the first floor of the nearby Student Union Building, where a coffee bar called “We Now Proudly Brew Starbucks” and a convenience store called “P.O.D. Express” will be constructed.
The existing GrilleWorks will also be renovated and re-named “The Cardinal Grill.”
Additionally, the Cardinal Gym concession area will also be upgraded.
Those projects are scheduled to be finished later during the Fall 2014 semester.
“We’ve been very pleased with the work Aramark has done with this project,” Kinzer said.
“We’ve only been serving for about a week, but we’re already seeing a very positive response from our students, faculty and staff.”