College moves off-campus for input
When students don’t know how to address a problem, they ask a professor. When the College of William and Mary has trouble doing the same thing, it hires consultants.
Campus Dining, Inc. has been hired to complete a comprehensive study of the dining services on campus in order to understand the criteria necessary to complete the rebidding of the dining contract. John Byxbe, Interim Director of Auxiliary Services at the College, explained that these consultations are required each time the dining services contract expires. The current contract is a five-year deal with five additional one-year extensions.
“The Commonwealth of Virginia requires the College to follow procurement guidelines at the end of a dining contract,” Byxbe said. “The consultations will provide a basis for our request for proposal during the rebidding of dining services. The entire process will end in May or June of 2014 when the rebidding is completed.”
The College hopes that the consultation process will be holistic in order to meet its future needs.
“The analysis will be engaging students, faculty and staff. It is going to be an inclusive process,” Byxbe said.
Dining is not the only service at the College that is being reviewed, as consultants are examining parking as well. Bill Horacio, director of parking and transportation services at the College, explained that the parking consultation is an industry-recommended five-year review.
“We expect the study to provide operational improvements that will enable the college to make the best use of its resources; and an examination of the impact transportation has on the college’s ability to provide reliable and sustainable transport from outlying parking and residential locations to major centers of activity,” Horacio said in an email.
The parking consultation is not due to contract renewal, but rather to the College’s plans to improve its current parking situation through work with the consultants.
“We will use the data and suggestions for enhancement provided by the consultant to improve parking operations and benchmark against other peer institutions,” Horacio said in an email.
Alex Sullivan ’13 is a student representative on the Parking Advisory Committee. He feels that the consultations are comprehensive and will allow the College to understand what parking problems exist and how to go about making changes.
“There is desire among students and faculty for convenient parking on campus,” Sullivan said. “For example, a professor who works at the ISC or a student who lives in Landrum would prefer not to park at William and Mary Hall.”
Sullivan noted that some members of the College community view the decision to hire a third party as a way for the administration to avoid handling its own problems, but he sees the consultants as a fresh perspective.
“It will be helpful to have a second opinion when we are trying to use our space effectively and this process will be beneficial in the long run,” Sullivan said.