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For the 2015-16 school year, incoming freshmen will be adopting a newly revised dining plan, which excludes the use of weekly meal credits. Instead, meal plans will only consist of Plu$ Dollars.
“We’ve added a couple of more locations where you can use the meal plan credit, but we were just seeing so frequently that students seem to want less of the meal credits and more of the dollars,” Cal Poly Corporation (CPC) Interim Executive Director Lorlie Leetham said.
On average, one meal goes unused each week per student. The modified dining plan will prevent potential meals from going to waste.
“It’s all about flexibility and being able to eat anywhere as opposed to being limited to have to use meal plan credits,” Leetham said.
The meal plan cost breakdown consists of the declining balance of Plu$ Dollars, Week of Welcome (WOW) program meals and base operating expenses for the all-you-care-to-eat facilities. The base operating expense acts as an overhead payment to support the cost to operate an all-you-care-to-eat facility such as 19 Metro Station. This allows those on a meal plan to dine at this type of venue at a discount entry price of $4.50.
“Part of what students pay for when they buy a dining plan is to have a dining program on campus,” Leetham said. “We opted to go with only the cost needed to support an all-you-care facility.”
Incoming freshmen will not get to choose from a variety of dining plans like in years past. On a quarterly basis, those living in residence halls and apartments will have approximately $1,300 and $1,000 to spend, respectively.
There is an estimated $100 increase in cost for the new meal plan compared to the previous dining plan. However, the cost increase is due to inflationary factors, and the program will remain the same, Leetham said.
Without the restriction of meal credits, freshmen will have more freedom to choose where to dine on campus. This may lead to underutilization of certain venues on campus.
“It’s okay to have a couple of underperforming locations that are there more for convenience for people than they are about being sustainable financially,” Leetham said. “We know there’s always going to be some that are busier and more successful than others.”
Changes at VGs, the end of Sage
Plans to renovate and rebuild the Vista Grande building will be tentatively taking place next year during fall or spring.
“We are underway right now with programming a design for a new Vista Grande building,” Leetham said. “It would be done and ready to go by the time Student Housing South is built, so that’s fall of 2018.”
Sage and Vista Grande manager Margi Braden is excited for the transformation of the dining facility.
“I wish it was coming sooner,” Braden said. “This building is so antiquated — it’ll be really nice to see a lot of upgrades.”
The Vista Grande building will no longer have a full service restaurant like Sage. All current dining facilities located inside Vista Grande will be substituted with new options.
To accommodate the loss of a dining facility, a variety of food trucks may be placed on campus. The plans are not final, Leetham said.
Once the Vista Grande building is completed, building 19 will also undergo construction. This includes venues The Avenue, 19 Metro Station and Sandwich Factory.
Located underneath 19 Metro Station is a culinary production area where food preparation for Grab-N-Go items like sandwiches are produced. With construction being done on building 19, the food preparation area will need to relocate.
“We’re talking about building a culinary support center on campus,” Leetham said. “There’s a real opportunity here to try to collaborate with some of our academic programs.”
While dining facilities undergo construction, employees will have to find work elsewhere.
“I’m very used to it and my staff is very used to having to work in other areas over summer that are open,” Braden said. “So something like this is not a surprise.”
Cal Poly Corporation plans to relocate employees to other areas of Campus Dining during ongoing construction.
“We may expand hours at some places, add staff to handle increased volume and a variety of other changes,” Leetham said.