Students swarm diners despite long lines
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 01:09
On nearly every quad of Miami’s campus, improvements in construction are occurring behind chain-link fences tucked in between the usual red brick buildings.
On Sept. 3, students got to see the results of one of the biggest changes on campus: the opening of Maplestreet Station, a new dining facility on south quad.
Director of Dining Nancy Heidtman said she has been a part of the improvement process from the beginning.
“The changes to the dining program are part of a long-range housing and dining plan that is well under way,” Heidtman said.
Maplestreet Station is one of three new facilities opening year, according the Heidtman. Armstrong Student Center and another dining facility on Western Campus will open later this year.
Along with the openings of three new facilities came the closing of both Scott and Hamilton Dining Halls. After Armstrong Student Center opens in the spring semester, Haines Food Court will be closed as well, Heidtman noted.
The director of Haines, Tuffey’s and Sundial Pizza, Chris Pirigyi, said he is happy to see the changes to Miami’s dining.
“I’m an alumni from here and I love to see growth,” Pirigyi said.
Pirigyi explained the closings were largely due to cost-related issues, including a lack of customers and efficiency in both Scott and Hamilton.
Heidtman added that the number of daily customers at Hamilton and Scott would reach only about 1,700 while Maplestreet Station has nearly doubled that amount at an average of 3,000 customers a day.
Both Heidtman and Pirigyi said new dining facilities are more focused on efficiency behind the scenes and environmental sustainability than Miami’s more historic dining halls. This includes changing the format of the kitchens, as well as using recyclable paper and plastic products in the eating areas.
“I think it’s remarkable for on-campus dining,” Pirigyi said. “It showcases what Miami dining really can be. I think it’s all positive.”
Junior Hannah Reeg has witnessed the transition as an employee of Scott who has now moved to Maplestreet. Reeg said the changes are mainly positive but do have a few downsides.
“Scott was like a family to me, so it is a little bit of an adjustment, but overall I do like Maplestreet and how it has a restaurant feel,” Reeg said. “It is a little more hectic than Scott, but, then again, I’m sure in time things will settle down.”
According tot Pirigyi, the hectic nature of on-campus dining in the fall semester is only a slight concern, especially with the major changes this year.
“We made adjustments to anticipate the higher volumes of customers,” Pirigyi said. “This included adding a lot more grab-and-go items.”
Heidtman said long lines are common at the beginning of every year, and have not been a big concern for them.
“We’re just delighted that people are interested,” Heidtman said. “It’s normal for the first few weeks of classes to have long lines, but they always settle down after three weeks or so.”
On the other hand, Maplestreet customers who have experienced the long lines feel a little differently, though it has yet to keep them away.
“I’ve had good food, but long lines for sure, it’s worth it though.” sophomore Erica Abrams said.
Her dining companion, sophomore Maria Latta, agreed that the food was good but the service was slow each time she had dined there. The third girl in their group, sophomore Abby Bell had experienced similar difficulty.
“It’s not as much the waiting in line as it is waiting for food that takes the most time,” Bell said. “It’s only their first week though so it’s understandable. We can be patient, it’s not a big deal.”
Although she deals with the high volume of customers first-hand everyday, Reeg said she is happy with the changes as well.
“The new Maplestreet facility is really beautiful and adds to Miami’s upbeat atmosphere,” Reeg said. “I definitely think the changes in Miami dining are positive.”
However, one thing has bothered Reeg more than the long lines.
“The prices have definitely shot up and to me seem a little ridiculous,” Reeg said.