What’s Cooking at the Cornell Campus Center?

Sodexo gives $2 million to support the remodeling of the kitchen—the “fuel line” to the entire campus.

Rollins Director of Dining Services Gerard Short, District Manager at Sodexo Campus Services Mike Scheffres, Rollins Vice President for Business and Finance and Treasurer Jeffrey Eisenbarth, Sodexo Senior Vice President Fred Formichella, and Rollins Vice President for Institutional Advancement Ronald Korvas. (Photo by Scott Cook) Rollins Director of Dining Services Gerard Short, District Manager at Sodexo Campus Services Mike Scheffres, Rollins Vice President for Business and Finance and Treasurer Jeffrey Eisenbarth, Sodexo Senior Vice President Fred Formichella, and Rollins Vice President for Institutional Advancement Ronald Korvas. (Photo by Scott Cook) The last time Rollins College renovated the Cornell Campus Center, the decision was made not to renovate the Center’s infrastructure—that is, the back-of-house items that comprise what are essentially the cafeteria’s engine. Just before that renovation, a kitchen fire had forced the College to replace several major pieces of equipment, so the money wasn’t there to overhaul the whole thing.

That was 18 years ago. Today, some of that equipment has outlived its normal life span by more than a decade. It needs some fixing-up.

In May, Sodexo, Rollins’ food-service partner, made a $2-million investment to upgrade the kitchen. For Rollins, the upgrades will allow for increased efficiency, which should make life easier for staff members.

“The new equipment will allow us to better serve the students,” says Gerard Short, Rollins’ director of dining services. “The entire kitchen is going to be reequipped. Overall, the entire kitchen is going to be more efficient.” 

For Sodexo, happier staff members and customers may mean more revenue. (Over the last six years, sales have increased from $4 million to $7 million.)

According to Kathy Welch, director of business services, the renovation will include:

• New flooring, ceiling, tile, and lighting
• New state-of-the-art, energy-efficient food service equipment
• Upgrades to the plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems
• A new elevator to support more storage and inventory
• A room dedicated to catering needs
• An improved tray-return process

“Most of it is behind the scenes this time,” Welch says. “We hope there will be a phase two, when we do the dining area.”

“It’s long overdue,” adds Short. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to have new equipment. We’re excited about expanding to phase two, so the end user can see and be a part of a first-rate dining experience.”

The Cornell Campus Center’s second phase of renovation is still in the planning process. The first phase, funded by the money from Sodexo, should be completed by August 1, before the fall semester begins.