There was a time when a cafeteria served meals to students on the Washington Street Campus. It was closed in May 2011 and since has been replaced with vending machines.
Now, if you are running late or coming in early for a bite, canned or bottled drinks and packed food are on the menu.
Having the cafeteria on campus was convenient for students but was not effective for the bottom line. An estimated $100,000 a year was being lost on running the cafeteria, and that led to the decision to do away with it.
There are no plans to return a cafeteria to the campus, and according to President Paul Matney’s office, the kitchen equipment will be removed soon. There are other plans for the area where the cafeteria existed.
Lynn Thornton, director of administrative services and human resources, said one plan for part of that area is to extend the bookstore and make it larger. Other than that, he said there is “nothing decided” for the rest of the area in the College Union Building.
There have been talks in the past about restaurants such as Taco Villa or Chick-fil-A stepping in and serving food. However, AC is contractually obligated to Custom Foods and the vending machines for the next couple of years.
Kristen Calhoun, a psychology major, is one of many students who would like something more than vending machine food. “I would love to eat at a Chick-fil-A or Taco Bell here,” Calhoun said. .
She said that with her school and work schedule, it is hard to leave campus to eat, so sometimes she just doesn’t.
Kenzie Kale, a nursing major, agreed. “I just don’t eat like I used to,” Kale said. She said she would like pizza or breakfast burritos offered.
The consensus is that while money is being saved for the school, the lifestyle of some students is uncomfortable and that perhaps now would be a good time to try again for more food service.
For the time being, there are no concrete plans for more food service on campus. Whether food will be served on campus again is a question that will come up again once the Custom Foods contract ends.