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OBU-Chartwells Agreement Brings New Food Service to Bison Hill

August 15, 2013

Shaz, the OBU bison mascot, stops for a bite and chats with students during the spring 2013 semester.

Oklahoma Baptist University President David W. Whitlock has announced an agreement with the Chartwells Division of the Compass Group to manage food services on the university's Shawnee campus.

"The university is pleased to partner with Chartwells in endeavoring to provide a state-of-the-art college dining experience for OBU students," Dr. Whitlock said.

When students arrive on campus, they will see the first of several changes to food service with the conversion from Java City to a new coffee service managed by Chartwells in the lower Geiger Center (GC), the student center located in the center of campus.

"The coffee shop will be a 'Starbucks We Proudly Brew,' which is not a franchised store, but a coffee service that provides a wide variety of Starbucks drinks, pastries and other items," said Lauri Fluke, OBU assistant vice president for finance and administrative services.

Additional renovations of the downstairs GC will occur during the university's Christmas break and will include a Chick-fil-a Express, a Chartwells-branded grill area and a convenience store with a smaller footprint than the current store.

Major changes in the Laura Scales Dining Room, located in the upper GC, are scheduled for the summer of 2014. The renovation will include a conversion to a more restaurant-like atmosphere featuring interactive cooked-to-order meal stations and self-serve food platforms.

"We believe that the new meal plans will offer students greater flexibility," Fluke said. "With the 150- and 220-block meal plans, there will be a meal plan exchange where they can use one of their meal plan meals (one per day Monday through Friday) downstairs. The new meal plans also offer additional Bison Bucks. The addition on the unlimited meal plan offers students unlimited access to the cafeteria seven days a week, so if they want to run in and grab a piece of fruit or a snack between meals, they will have the ability to do that."

Students also will be able to take advantage of a "to go" option as part of their meal plan, Fluke said.

"We were pleased to be able to partner with Chartwells in a process that will provide both quality and value to our students," said Randy Smith, OBU's chief financial officer. "We have been working on this process for six months and have included students, faculty and staff in bringing this important partner to OBU."

In addition to new dining services, Chartwells will be gearing up for concessions offerings this fall just in time for the first Bison football game in 73 years. The company will provide two concession/food trailers during athletic events.

The agreement calls for a total investment in the food service facilities of more than $2.3 million by Chartwells. The university food service provides meals to on-campus students, commuter students and also catering for events on the campus.