News

A Task Force Update

Beth Hanson
NEWS EDITOR

The Food Service Task Force (FSTF) and the Commission on Space Use Planning (CSUP) are currently evaluating proposals and preparing to make recommendations to President Scott Bierman.

This week, three external food management companies—Sodexo, Aramark and Bon Appetit—and Beloit College Dining Services will publicly present their proposals. Presentations will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week in Moore Lounge, Pearsons Hall. In order to accommodate as many students as possible, videotapes of the presentations will be shown at 6:30 p.m. each night in the President’s Lounge of Chapin Hall.

The Food Service Task Force received proposals from five companies, but narrowed it down to Sodexo, Aramark, and Bon Appetit.

In their request for proposals, FSTF specified themes and qualifications. Themes included what kind of food is delivered, what meal plan would be the best, what spaces work best and how food is infused into students’ everyday lives.

“All staff will be retained. We said [in the request] that any company coming here will retain the staff. They have all agreed to that,” Dean of Students and FSTF chair Christina Klawitter said. “If we go with a company, we’ll make sure that is part of our contract.”

While the proposals all have similar ideas since they were responding to the FSTF’s request, the proposals are different in how they would be executed. Klawitter said that it is important to choose the proposal that best fits Beloit College, whether from an outside company or Beloit College Dining Services.

Getting feedback from the campus community was important to FSTF. Student opinions on staff retention and interest in where food comes from were especially useful. FSTF spent most of last semester gathering feedback and identifying the most important themes.

Klawitter also stressed how important it is that students attend the proposal presentations this week.

“There will be some vehicle for online feedback to be announced on the Terrarium,” Klawitter said. She expects the online form will be up the week following the presentations.

After feedback has been considered, FSTF will make a recommendation to President Bierman by mid-February. There will be a period of negotiation with the chosen company. Klawitter expects that the decision could be made and finalized by the week after spring break.

The proposal selected by FSTF and approved by Bierman will go into effect in fall 2012.

Last semester, CSUP established “principles,” the ideas that guide the work of the commission. “Principles” included the idea of third places, spaces that combine academic and residential settings.

After establishing “principles,” CSUP focused on “priorities,” or project ideas. Based on priorities, CSUP created three scenario proposals to seek community feedback on in December 2011.

The first proposal focused on expanding and enhancing physical space for the humanities. As part of this proposal, the World Affairs Center (WAC) and South College would be renovated. South would be renovated with approximately 12 faculty offices and possible classroom spaces. Existing faculty offices and classrooms in WAC would then be improved.

The second proposal is to create an expanded, enhanced and integrated space for the arts. Studio art facilities would move to a refurbished Smith Building and Physical Plant would move to a different building.

The third proposal is to re-conceptualize and reconfigure Pearsons Hall. Possibilities for Pearsons involve reconfiguring the layout. DK’s would be expanded and Java Joint moved to the second floor. Student activities, accounting and financial aid would move to the basement.

“The big effort is because DK’s and Java Joint aren’t optimized,” Ari Jacobs’12 said. “[We want] a better DK’s and Java Joint.”

For more details on this set of proposals, visit http://www.beloit.edu/academicaffairs/news/.

CSUP is currently constructing another set of three scenario proposals.

The first proposal focuses on “front porches,” in particular on Middle College. Ideas about Middle College include increasing accessibility to the president and provost by moving the president’s office to Gage House and relocating the office of the provost to Pearsons.

The second proposal focuses on student residences. Ideas for student residences include enhancing common spaces with Wi-Fi and cooking facilities, reconfiguring the ’64 Halls, enhancing natural lighting, moving security to the Health Center’s current location in Porter Hall and the Health Center to another location, exploring the construction of a student residence downtown and considering the demolition of 609 Emerson.

The third proposal focuses on the reacquisition of Emerson Hall Apartments in 2016. Ideas for Emerson Hall Apartments include utilizing it for special interest housing or as a location for a charter school for pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade.

Provost and Dean of the College Ann Davies emphasized that these are project ideas, not plans. She said, “They’re not set in stone. We want to gauge reactions.”

“We’re looking at possibilities for spaces,” Klawitter said. “There’s a difference between what is a priority and what we might have the money to fund.”

CSUP will hold two open forums. The first will be on Feb. 6 at 12:30 p.m. in Mathers, Pearsons Hall. The second will be at 4 p.m. in South Lounge, WAC.

CSUP hopes that students will attend the forums and provide feedback. If students are unable to attend the open forums and wish to offer feedback, they can email CSUP student representatives Jacobs, jacobsa@beloit.edu, and Mark Freker’12, frekerm@beloit.edu.

The following week, Feb. 10-11, CSUP will bring their ideas to the board of trustees meeting.

“After that meeting, we’ll have a greater sense [of what’s feasible],” Davies said. “What we produce won’t be a ‘plan,’ but a set of queries and possibilities that we think would benefit from further exploration, with the assistance of experts, in a second phase of study.”

CSUP will make a recommendation of priorities to Bierman on March 1.

Students enter Commons for brunch on Saturday.

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