News Date: 
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Source: The Red and Black

By Matthew Hunt

The Red & Black

February 25, 2004

Although the cost of a semester meal plan will increase by about $100 next fall, Food Services Director Michael Floyd said the price hike was expected following the completion of the University's newest dining hall -- The East Campus Commons.

"We've renovated all the dining halls in the last eight years, and we learn something new each time," Floyd said. "(The ECC) has taken two years of our lives ... but we know students will say 'Wow.'"

Made to order smoothies and pizzas, single seating for those who wish to sit alone and week-long operating hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. are just a pinch of the many suggestions peppered into the design of the new dining hall.

And because Food Services receives no outside funds, Floyd said, the increase in the meal plan's cost will help pay for the new building.

"But our price will still be lower than everyone else in the area," he said.

"Even with a $100 increase ... if you're terrible at shopping, cooking and doing dishes it sounds pretty good to me," said Michael Breslin, a third-year law student from Marietta. "Given what I'd spend otherwise, I'm sure I'd still save money."

Floyd also said the price hike likely will affect the individual costs of breakfast, lunch and dinner for anyone who is not on the meal plan and pays per meal.

The extra cost will help pay for the extra benefits of the ECC: a four-tiered tray return belt to eliminate lines, larger salad and dessert-bar islands, comfortable furniture and corner rooms with a view.

The building also will join the rest of the campus dining halls in getting wireless Internet capabilities by the fall.

"Dining halls are the meeting places on campus, and with the increased speed of service and inviting design, the ECC will be the destination on South Campus," Floyd said.

The ECC is what Floyd calls "the spoke in the middle of the hub."

It's sandwiched between the Ramsey Center and the Fine Arts building. Aderhold rests just around the bend. A bus stop sits 20 feet from the main entrance, and the East Campus parking deck is a brief stroll up the walkway.

The building's main hall will hold more round tables than any other dining facility.

"The convenient hours and the promised variety makes staying on the meal plan very tempting, something I might not have considered if it wasn't being built," said Caitlyn Hersh, a freshman from Marietta.

Once the contractor signs over the building July 1, Floyd said, he plans to immediately open the bottom floor that holds a la carte dining and a convenience store -- for the residents of the almost completed East Campus Village -- and then have the top floor ready for the fall semester.

ECC information, diagrams and construction images are available on the Food Services Web site (http://www.uga.edu/foodservice).