During the Administration, Buildings and Grounds Committee Meeting, the Board of Visitors listened to a comprehensive update on all construction projects undertaken this summer and discussed the future of the College of William and Mary’s physical campus.
“Things continue to go well and since our last meeting, we have issued 11 building permits,” College Building Official Robert Dillman said. “Five were fairly major, such as the installation of the air conditioning in Barrett Hall, the renovations of Chandler, the installation of an ice plant to further assist in cooling buildings, and have begun to construct the third portion of the Integrated Science Center.”
In addition to these projects, Dillman said electrical and sprinkler system updates were completed in One Tribe Place to ensure that students be allowed to return. The red garage beneath the building was opened at the start of the semester for student use.
A change in the College’s dining services provider to Sodexo USA led to many changes in dining halls over the course of the summer. Marketplace had one of the most dramatic makeovers and conceptual changes.
“Based on the statistics we had, Marketplace was the place where the fewest number of people ate, so we made some changes such as reducing the number of people preparing food and venues at which to buy food, and we removed meal swipes to make it Flex dollars only,” Vice President for Administration Anna Martin said. “However, then there is the question, did we swing the pendulum too far to the other side?”
The College put about $1.2 million into Dining Dollars to make changes possible. However, after hearing the consternation of students, Sodexo and Auxiliary Services decided to put the meal swipes back in at the students’ request. This was also done in the hopes to reduce lines during mealtime rushes at the Sadler Center.
“This was an experiment,” Martin said. We are going to continue to look at the changes and see how we might continue to adjust it to suit student needs.”
Among the others changes to the Marketplace is the loss of Chick-fil-a. The fast food chain left due to a miscommunication, but then refused to engage in another contract with the College until the College bought and installed a new hood in the kitchen area. However, Martin said she is hopeful that Chick-fil-a will be back in the future.
“We had a really productive meeting with Sodexo a few days ago,” Student Assembly President Colin Danly ’15 said. “We are really excited and thought it was a great meeting. From the student perspective, the Sodexo experience is a lot of improvement. What the students need to know now is ‘What’s next?’”
Committee members also reviewed the plans for the new media center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library basement.
“It is a very dark place and we have really outgrown the space,” Dean of University Libraries Carrie Cooper said. “This new space will give us a chance to do more community events — it will give us a new multipurpose space. The media center is an integral piece for supporting the new curriculum and this is a way to support that initiative.”
Fundraising for the project — which Cooper coordinated largely through private donors — has reached over $1 million and will change the area and allow the acquirement of new equipment for students.
In November’s Board of Visitors meeting, the committee will look at the Master Plan, a comprehensive proposal of all future changes to the campus.