Wednesday, July 18, 2001

UC expands dining options

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        College grub is growing up. Mystery meat is vanishing.

        In its place at the University of Cincinnati's main campus are wraps and Caesar salads, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine and more familiar offerings, from steak to pizza.

        Not only is UC expanding food options, it is inviting restaurants to join its Bearcat debit card system.

        Marty Angiulli, owner of Martino's in Corryville, was one of the first to join the expanding Bearcat network. “It's still slow,” he said, “but I look for it to be great.”

        The changes are part of UC's effort to make living on campus more attractive. It is spending $151 million to update and build student housing to add almost 1,300 beds to the 3,324 in its dorms.

        All of this is to be self-supporting and potentially profitable even as UC encourages market-rate private housing on its fringes and eases student spending off-campus.

        These changes were the core of the housing and food master plan presented Tuesday at a press conference.

        If all goes well, associate vice president James Tucker said, housing will produce “a few million dollars surplus at the end of 15 years.”

        UC houses about 11 percent of its students, compared to about 35 percent at other Ohio campuses and a national average of 21 percent.

        UC also is promoting Corryville and Clifton Heights redevelopment to bring more students closer to campus and to improve the view when parents visit the school with prospective students.

        An estimated 12,000 to 15,000 students live in the closest three ZIP codes. UC is hoping that 6,000 of them will live in and around new market-rate housing to be built with private money.

        However, many students live on campus, thousands more commute and could eat there, along with faculty and staff.

        Steven Sayers, assistant vice president, said campus food services are capturing 26 percent of that spending, low by national standards.


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