The University of Findlay and Sodexo completed $1.5 million renovations.
The University of Findlay and Sodexo finished renovations in Henderson Dining Hall just in time for the upcoming fall semester. Dining Services Marketing Coordinator, Riley McKinniss described some of the updates in an email interview.
“Many have referred to Henderson’s renovation as a ‘face lift’ and although it is absolutely more visually appealing than ever, we made lots of changes to equipment, stations [and] menus,” McKinniss said.
One of the biggest updates to the dining hall is the addition of a large double deck Bakers Pride oven.
“Our Bakers Pride oven will not only allow us to make fresh, delicious pizzas readily available to guests, but we have the ability to cook our own breads to use at the deli, serve oven-baked pastas, and even provide students with fresh, warm cinnamon rolls and other pastries,” McKinniss said.
The dining hall also added an Action Station known as Showcase. This station offers entirely customizable entrees. This customization continues with the grill in Henderson which will now have a grill-to-order option. Another change is the creation of two dessert stations.
Mckinniss explained that all these changes help personalize UF’s dining experience. They also better accommodate special diets.
“Our new station, Showcase, features entrees that are completely customizable, which is a request we see frequently in our surveys and other student feedback platforms,” McKinniss said.
This ability to completely customize one’s meal will also be offered at Simply to Go. The visual appearance of the Simply to Go area was updated, and there are plans in place to operate it 24/7. The Coke Freestyle machines were also updated, and a TurboChef oven was purchased for the Deli.
Besides the upgrades to appliances, UF’s Dining Team also updated the visual appearance of the dining hall.
“One noticeable difference when walking into Henderson is the fact that there is now a wall in front of the dish belt featuring beautiful greenery to make the area a bit more visually appealing,” McKinniss said.
UF’s Dining Team remained adaptable throughout the renovations. Summer camps and conferences were held in the Refinery while the renovations were carried out.
“We have had staff members switch roles to help keep their own positions fresh and interesting,” McKinniss said. “Like many places, we are continuing our hiring process as the renovation has created a few more job opportunities.”
Dining Services has encountered a few obstacles during the renovations, a major one being supply issues in acquiring the equipment to operate Simply to Go 24 hours a day.
“The initial plan was to make this available on the first day of classes along with all other new concepts dining services offers,” McKinniss said. “Unfortunately, the technology necessary to keep STG open 24/7 has been significantly delayed. This equipment includes security cameras, 24-hour door access, and a self-checkout register, all which have not arrived to install.”
Dining Services is still waiting on a Starbucks individually brewed coffee machine which is scheduled to arrive in October. Once the delayed equipment has arrived, Dining Services will implement these services for students.
McKinniss is most excited to receive student reactions to all the updates and renovations.
“I know how hard our team has worked this summer, and the best reward for us all will be the pure excitement and appreciation the students have for the updated space,” McKinniss said. “Every decision down to the very last detail was made with our students in mind, and it will be really cool to hear what they think.”