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University of Wisconsin-Platteville international student Katie Holman chooses from the wide variety of entrées available at the newly renovated UWP Glenview Commons.
PLATTEVILLE - The Glenview Commons dining area at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has undergone some changes the last four years, but the most recent one may have the greatest effect - giving students more options than ever while simultaneously cutting down the time they wait in line.
First implemented last March, the dining area has switched from traditional cafeteria style serving lines to a "platform" food service design, Director of UWP Dining Services Jim Mueller said. Eight different themed serving areas offer their own style of cuisine every day.
"Students right now want more variety," Mueller said. "We did a lot of surveying of students the past couple of years and this is what they wanted. This gives them options, with 13-17 different items to choose from."
Mueller said the change was a success in its test period last spring. The number of entrees offered has doubled, and the increased options mean faster lines as students "shop around" before they decide what to eat. An April survey found that 94 percent of students were satisfied with the new areas.
Previously, the east and west main food lines both offered the same food that rotated by day. Now the east line will feature traditional entrees in the "Main Event" area and baked potatoes with a variety of toppings at the "1 Potato 2 Potato" bar. The west line has become "Cucina Italia," offering pizza, pasta, breadsticks and other Italian foods daily.
"We make the pizzas fresh," Mueller said. "We actually prepare them right out there in front, putting them through the oven, cutting them, and putting them right on the shelves."
The "Signature Cuisine" area, located on the east side of Glenview Commons, is a deli bar by day but offers themed meals at night.
"At lunch its basically a deli bar with burgers and fries and things like that. In the evening we'll do demonstration cooking. We'll have our chefs and our student chefs actually prep food right in front of the students," Mueller said.
The themed Italian, Mexican and Asian meals will be served Monday through Thursday nights.
The "Green Streets" salad bar remains virtually unchanged, offering a full array of salad toppings, dressings and soup. Making accommodations for vegetarians throughout the menu, not just at the salad bar, was an important aspect of the redesign.
"We try to incorporate vegetarian items with all these different concepts," Mueller said. "There's a growing trend here - not as big as at some other campuses - but we do have a definite niche for vegetarians."
Cereal is offered at all meals at "The Cereal Bowl," located between the east and west seating areas. Two "Dessert Isle" stations and two "Thirty's" beverage stations round out the service areas, as well as a good meal.
Mueller said Associate Director of Dining Services Joellen Schoonover, who manages Glenview Commons, has been the "driving force" to make the change to platform service happen, just one of the many changes at Glenview in recent years. Tile, carpeting, curtains, tables and chairs have all been replaced in the last four years, and the patio was repaired last summer.
"It's been a gradual process to get to the point to where we're pretty well set right now," Mueller said.
Though other improvements are in the works as well. An air conditioning system is scheduled to be installed in Glenview Commons within the next two years, the convenience store may be moved to the lower level and email stations may be added to the waiting areas, Mueller added.
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