Cafeteria face-lift starts surprises for campus changes

By Rachel Swann

Students enjoy dinner on outdoor patio of cafeteria. (Photo by Rachel Swann.)

While students were lying on the beach and traveling Europe for spring break, administrators made a few changes to campus to surprise them when they got back.

The most apparent: the addition of 90 seats, 20 tables and six outdoors heaters to the cafeteria’s patio area.

New university executive vice president for finance and administration, David Caldwell, came into his position this semester with plans to make Trevecca’s campus a place for students to have a nice living space.

His strategy was to improve a few smaller areas, such as the patio and resurface the gym floor, to let students know administrators are listening to what they have to say about their school.

The idea to bring in the patio furniture was mentioned in a student survey conducted last fall by student development. Students had the opportunity to rate many aspects of Trevecca and say what they want to improve.

Caldwell explained the addition to the patio was something Pioneer College Caterers, dining service provider at Trevecca, wanted to do for students. Because it was a part of his plans too, it was decided that the project should become a reality.

“Steve Harris, (associate provost and dean of student development) and I are looking to improve the atmosphere on campus,” Caldwell said.

To make plans easier to move forward with, Pioneer offered to pay for everything. There was no cost to the university or students. According to Caldwell, the tables, chairs, heaters and new double door to the patio cost an estimated $15,000.

It took plant operations one day over spring break to unpack, assemble and set up everything. The double door from the main dining room to the patio also had to be installed. This took a few extra days. Glen Linthicum, director of plant operations, wanted to get things finished before students came back.

“We wanted to make it a surprise,” Linthicum said.

More changes will be made throughout the rest of spring semester and over the summer months.

The cafeteria will have an additional face-lift with more renovations starting May 17. Caldwell and Pioneer made the official announcement to students March 22 via email. Pioneer and two anonymous donors are offering to cover the cost of all improvements, such as composting in a new dish room, the addition of a rotisserie oven and sandwich bar and new serving areas, according to the email.

New seating is also included in the plan.

“Pioneer wants to stay in tune with the needs of the campus and students…(The patio improvement) creates a whole new space we’ve never had before,” Tim Wolters, district supervisor of Pioneer College Caterers, said.

Trevecca students can expect more surprises to come, especially in the dormitories. It has started with the cafeteria, but Caldwell assures that student feedback in surveys is important. It is because of that that changes can be made.

“We are trying to make every area a positive experience as it can be for students,” Caldwell said.

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