The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

District to improve cafeterias, board hears

By Katie Hudson-Martinez/feature editor

Exciting upgrades are coming to the cafeterias on all four campuses, TCC board members were told at an open meeting last week.

In response to a customer survey, ECI working in tandem with Rudy Gonzalez, vice chancellor of financial services, the facilities will be remodeled and upgraded to address some of the concerns.

Healthier menu items will be incorporated, such as veggie burgers and a salad bar, and the cafeterias will start using non-trans fat for cooking.

The regular menu will be expanded to include traditional favorites such as buffalo chicken, panini sandwiches and chicken quesadillas.

An architectural firm has already visited all four campuses and is working on a proposal for the remodel of the facilities.

One aspect that seems certain is that the food serving area will be divided into a number of kiosks, where different types of food will be served.

“ We are looking at installing at least four separate kiosks in each cafeteria: Italian Food and pasta, “Chef’s Work” with a daily special, a deli with both pre-made and made to order sandwiches and a self-serve soup and salad bar,” Steve Metcalf, café director for ECI, said.

Both Metcalf and Gonzales feel confident that upgrading the facilities and expanding the menu will invite more students and staff to eat on campus.

“ With just the little bit we have done on South Campus, we have seen an increase in sales by 25 percent this year,” Metcalf said.

Other concerns revealed in the survey were hours of operation and value.

Gonzales explained that while the cafeterias do not stay open late for evening students, they do prepare sandwiches, wraps and deli items daily to be sold through the bookstores, which are open until 7:30 p.m.

He also researched how pricing compares with other fast food restaurants in the area and found that they were very competitive with Mc Donald’s pricing and less expensive than Sonic or Jack in the Box.

“ It is possible that because of the lack of ambience within the dining areas students expect to pay less, but from everything I’ve looked at, the prices are very fair,” Gonzales said.

The board voted unanimously to extend ECI’s contract for five more years after hearing that the overwhelming majority of those surveyed were satisfied with ECI’s overall performance and that steps were being taken to address any concerns.

The board also voted unanimously to opt out of the exemption of the goods-in-transit tax, a newly passed bill which would make certain in-transit items exempt from taxation.

Chancellor Leonardo de la Garza explained that the bill was meant to stimulate economic growth in some U.S. border towns.

The chancellor said one of the border towns to benefit was El Paso.

But board member Randall Canedy said that the law was overreaching.

“ It seems as though this was painted with too broad of a brush, and I think that the impact could even be more substantial than what we are being told,” he said.

Gonzales explained there were possible loopholes for companies to avoid rightful taxation and that declining to opt out would have a negative impact on the district of an estimated $4 million annually.

The board also approved a contract worth more than $700,000 for improvements to the Fort Worth Opportunity Center, which was previously donated to the college by a non-profit organization.

The next open board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14 on NE Campus.

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