JOHNSTOWN - Plans to remodel the dining area at Fulton-Montgomery Community College will give students a new dining experience this fall.
Five different serving stations will replace one long line of students waiting to get a quick meal. The quintet of meal offerings will eliminate long wait times and provide nutritious food choices, FMCC President Dustin Swanger said at a college Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.
Ralph Lembo, regional director of Chartwells, a multi-campus food purveyor, and Maria Bernard, director of dining services at the college, presented the new meal plans during the meeting. Each station will feature nutritional information aimed at guiding students' dining choices - particulary those with specific meal requests for cultural or medical reasons.
Funding for the cafeteria project, estimated to cost about $800,000, is coming from the Fulmont College Association.
Work on the project began a month ago, after the college's May 21 graduation. Construction work will continue through the summer, so the renovation will be ready to greet new and returning students on Sept. 1. The building project is steadily proceeding. Pails, hand tools and other mechanical items are placed throughout the area, ready for use, as observed during a brief walk-through of the site after the board's meeting.
In the building area known as the Mohawk Room, sunlight will stream through glass windows, allowing campus visitors and students to see the entire dining and lounge area. The college has removed a wall that blocked that view. A new walk-in freezer and refrigerator, in another part of the area, will keep food at proper temperatures, college officials said.
All of the improvements are aimed at fostering a more inclusive atmosphere among students, especially as the college's international student enrollment increases, Swanger said.
Approximately 120 international students, representing 26 different countries, attend FMCC, he said. One year ago, 85 international students comprised that subset.
The renovations will result in a more contemporary dining setting, and a more college-like feeling, Swanger said. In short, an austere cafeteria-style dining area will become a more attractive place for students to meet and get to know one another.
And, as part of the college's five-year strategic plan that began in 2011, new campus housing will bring more students to the Johnstown-based campus. Bids will be opened later this summer toward the renovation of a 6,600-square foot area. When completed, a new moniker- "Raiders Cove" - will designate the renovated space. This new recreation area is anticipated to open in January. The project's extensive nature will take longer to complete than the rehabbed dining room commons.
Information about the new dining and nutrition program can be found online, on Facebook (FMCCEats) and Twitter (@FMCCEats), Bernard said.
Enrollment at 99 percent
Also at the trustees' meeting, leadership team members Lesley A. Lanzi, David M. Morrow and Jane Kelley were recognized by Board of Trustees Chairwoman Taiyebeh Ghazi-Moghadam. Lanzi is the college's chief advancement officer. Kelley is vice president of student affairs at the college. Morrow is treasurer and an officer of the college's Board of Trustees.
"This team has created a robust and student-centered campus," Ghazi-Moghadam said.
On that note, Kelley reported to the board that summer full-time enrollment by students is at 99 percent with 221 students attending classes. The second summer session, which begins July 2, also is seeing steady student commitments.