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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Next up in dining changes: Skyline Room

A committee of students, faculty, and staff are looking at the next phase of improvements to the dining program. The Skyline Room, pending budgetary approval, is up next. That approval is not a slam dunk, but the Mabee renovation and the addition of Einstein's were the first of many changes including ones to the Commons and the addition of a Science Cafe. One thing is for sure - the Skyline Room is one of the best locations in the city and it is only being used ten hours a week - and only by a minority of the campus population. Consultants last spring told us we are under-utlizing a fantastic space. It needs refurbishment and re-envisioning.

Here is the vision for the Skyline renovation so far. I invite comments here so we can have an active dialog.

1. For the faculty, professors are generally seeking a place that is available for quick, convenient lunches and where they can have spontaneous and conversations with other faculty members. Good, fair-priced, healthy food that is served up quick or is self-serve, such as the current buffet is what many seem interested in. There is also a need for lunches when staff and faculty are hosting job candidates and other guests, including students.

2. For the students, ARAMARK recommended moving the beer and wine license up from the Tigers' Den, which is non-functioning except for special events. The Skyline Room would serve as a venue for late-night weekend entertainment. It could include acoustic music, karaoke, jazz, open mike, comedy, etc. Students of all ages would be welcome but having a beer and wine option would be nice for those of age.

3. For the staff, students, and faculty, the Skyline Room might be open for Happy Hour a couple days a week and a limited dinner menu for those staying on campus between classes and meetings, but uninterested in making the trek down the hill.
Overall, the committee recommends a warm venue, akin to a place such as Cappycino's or other wine and coffee bars. The space should be flexible, allow for break-out spaces as it does now, and offer a flexible and reasonably priced menu based on time of day and needs of the people on campus at those times. While students can use Tiger Bucks there currently, the space would be primarily faculty and staff oriented at lunch and more faculty/staff/student-oriented later in the day (student-oriented on weekend nights).

Offering a limited lunch plan for senior students to use the space is also being considered. One professor suggested having a piano up there. A staff member suggested it have technology available for slide shows and videos. There is a lot of interest in opening the terrace as well. So what would you like to see?


Harry Wallace said...

All possible changes mentioned seem promising.

Special Collections and Archives said...

I would love to sit on the terrace. These are great ideas and I look forward to seeing what comes of everything.

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts:
(1.) I like the idea of NOT serving alcohol in the middle of the work day. To me that would send the wrong message to our student clientele about responsible use.

(2.) The new Skyline food offerings should include quick grilled sandwich options to-order. The buffet line or cafeteria line should stay.

Good luck and best wishes for the effort to make improvements.

John Sonnen
I. T. Services

Noelle MacGregor said...

I like the idea of changing it. So few students ever got to enjoy that space and it does have an awesome view. I love the idea of opening the terrace. I think enjoying a glass of wine up there sounds nice. So many improvements since I left...