Northwest to offer more dining choices
Feb 02, 2013 (St. Joseph News-Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Northwest Missouri State University students will return to campus in the fall with new dining choices, including chains such as Starbucks and Chick-fil-A.
The Board of Regents signed off on a new contract with Aramark, which will front five years' worth of commission to Northwest to pull off the $8.5 million in remodeling, which will include two areas in the Student Union, B.D. Owens Library and the Station, located between the residence halls on the west side of campus. Students likely will see a 2 percent increase in their food costs, but that issue will be decided by the board later this spring.
Northwest was cited in a 2011 audit from State Auditor Thomas Schweich for not competitively bidding out the dining services contract. Aramark, the nation's largest food services provider, will continue as the residential dining, catering and vending provider after beating out Chartwells, the nation's second largest company in the industry.
Dr. Matt Baker, vice president of student affairs, said Aramark's price per meal and commission rates are better than the previous contract they had with Northwest. The new contract is for five years, with an optional five-year renewal.
The remodeling and new vendors are part of an effort to enhance student enrollment and retention, as well as to promote health and wellness and sustainability.
"We're trying for more flexibility," Dr. Baker said, "more value."
The bottom floor of the Student Union will be remodeled and used as a cafeteria-style area where students swipe their student ID card and eat as much or as little as they want. Chain venues such as Red Mango Frozen Yogurt, Papa Johns, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Einstein Bros Bagels and Zen Asian Cuisine will be placed on the second floor of the union, in the library and the Station.
Planning for the renovation started a couple of hours after the board meeting Friday. Construction likely will start the first week of May, with a deadline of the first week in August. The fall semester begins Aug. 26.
Jimmy Myers can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPMyers.
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