Collins is not closing

By Kara Blomquist

Collins Cafe is here to stay.

The dining hall will remain open contrary to rumors on campus after discussions of closing the facility took place in the spring of 2012.

The discussions came in the wake of the announcement of the opening of a dining hall in the East Village Complex.

Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life, said the decision occurred during fall 2012, before prospective students ranked their residence hall choices for the fall of 2013.

While the addition of East Village Dining Commons will add additional operating costs to the university, students won’t be seeing that cost in their meal plan prices.

“The meal-plan price of the students won’t reflect any additional cost related to it,” said Brett Perlowski, director of Dining Services.

Jackson said four main factors played a role in the decision: student needs, nutritional needs of the Baylor community, cost and convenience.

“We bring it all together, analyze and project,” he said.

Perlowski said the university had to discover the best way to utilize its resources.

“It’s a cost-benefit conversation,” he said.

The cost of the additional dining hall may not be affecting students, but many have noticed the benefits of Collins Cafe.

Jessica Gallippo, unit marketing manager for Baylor Dining Services, said she realized how the dining hall makes Collins Hall more attractive to students as a prospective living space.

“A selling point when you tour new students through Collins is that it has a residential dining hall affiliated with it,” she said.

Lake Jackson freshman and Collins resident Natalie Jasper has experienced this selling point firsthand.

“It would probably be annoying not to have a dining hall down here,” she said. “It’s easy just to come down here and go back upstairs and finish getting ready.”

Los Angeles second-year graduate student Max Seib sees another benefit of keeping Collins open.

“I think it’s a good decision to keep it open. It balances the crowds of people between each dining hall,” he said.

The addition of the East Village Dining Commons may impact the dining patterns of students, Jackson said.

Currenlty, Collins Café serves breakfast to a fair number of its residents, Perlowski said.

However, people visit the café for more than just breakfast.

The clientele becomes “a melting pot at lunch time,” Perlowski said.

With the addition of the East Village Dining Commons, that may change, Perlowski said.

Perlowski said he believes East Village Dining Commons will attract the crowds at lunchtime, predicting that the dining hall will be the busiest residential dining hall on campus during lunch.

He said the layout of campus, with many of the classrooms located near East Village, is one reason the new dining hall will attract crowds.

One goal of the East Village Dining Commons is to have an inviting atmosphere, Perlowski said.

“The intent is for it to be welcoming to everybody,” he said.

Baylor will be gaining the new dining hall in the fall of 2013, Perlowski said.

The fall 2013 hours of operation for each residential dining hall has not yet been decided, he said.

The university will continue to assess students’ living and dining areas both annually and throughout the year, Jackson said.

“We’ll go into assess students’ needs and cost and make the best decision we can,” he said.