On Nov. 19, 2015 the UCF Board of Trustees will vote on a 10-year contract extension with Aramark, the University of Central Florida’s campus dining services provider, to include physical changes to UCF’s center of campus.
If voted in favor, Aramark would cover a $13 million to $14 million expansion to the Student Union’s north wall facing Memory Mall, drawing no funds from student fees.
“The Student Union was constructed in 1997, when enrollment was about 28,000 students,” said UCF assistant vice president Chad Binette. “Today, with 63,000 students, there isn’t enough seating to accommodate student demand, and food options are spread throughout the building’s first floor.”
The addition looks to extend the wall outward and add a second floor, nearly tripling available seating for students in the Union from 400 to 1,150.
Estimated revenues for the university over the next 10 years could also yield $82 million, compared to the $26 million UCF received in the last decade.
Binette continued by saying that “Aramark has been UCF’s dining services provider since 2001. The current contract took effect in 2006 and UCF and Aramark can mutually agree to an extension that would take effect in 2016. [The] committee recommendation sends the proposal to the full Board of Trustees for consideration.”
A majority of universities have a single provider of food services on the entire campus, a contrast to UCF including several venders who are not connected with the main provider of food services.
In assurance to students, meal plan prices would not be impacted if a deal is reached – the university must approve any changes in meal plan prices under the current agreement and under the proposal. For vendors not connected with Aramark, prices must be comparable to what is charged off campus, officials said.
“Students are pleased with Aramark’s food services and would benefit greatly from the expanded seating,” UCF student body president Cait Zona said. “This contract would allow us to step up in the Student Union.”
Those currently enrolled at UCF will be a part of the process that determines which restaurants arrive to the main campus under the expansion.
Knights Plaza restaurants would remain independent of the Board of Trustees’ consideration.