Boiler malfunction closes S.U.B. temporarily

On the first day back from spring break, the Diner completely shut down between 1 and 2 p.m. and remained closed for approximately one to two hours, according to Director of Dining and Conference Services Julie Coykendall. The last time that the Diner was completely closed was several years ago, so students as well as workers were not prepared for such an event. An issue with the hot water boiler on Monday March 21 in the basement of the S.U.B. rendered Dining and Conference Services unable to fully function and, much to their frustration, limited students in their meal options.

According to Coykendall, it is a violation of the health code to wash hands, do dishes or prepare food without hot water. As a result of the lack of hot water in the S.U.B., Dining and Conference Services closed the Diner for approximately an hour while they went to the kitchen in the Fieldhouse in order to make sandwiches for dinner Monday night. In addition to those sandwiches, they also set up barbeque grills outside the S.U.B. to make hot dogs and hamburgers. Later that night, facilities went out and bought hot water sinks, which could be attached to a few sinks in the Diner, so that Dining and Conference Services could serve food to students on a limited basis until the problem was completely fixed on Thursday March 24.

In addition to limited food options for students, there were also murmurs that Dining and Conference Services were worried about possible financial losses during the three days of limited service. When asked about such speculation, Coykendall responded, “The main concern for DCS was about our ability to service the students – first and foremost in our minds was making sure that we could provide food service to our students living on campus.  Any financial impact on The Diner was negligible and not of primary concern.”

Although the boiler is completely fixed now, this incident brought about ideas on potential S.U.B. improvements.

“Now that we have seen what they [Dining and Conference Services] can do, like with the pop tart bar and the sundae bar and the theme night, we know what they are capable of and I expect more from them. Why don’t we have those more often?” sophomore Taylor Cassell said.

As far as any plans for the future Coykendall said that Dining and Conferences will meet to discuss what would happen if it ever happened again.

“Thank you, everyone was so flexible and understanding. It was a lot of hard work but they [Dining and Conference Services] had a fun time with it (pop tart bar, sundae bar). We’ve had a lot of fun trying to figure out new ways to work with this small bump in the road,” Coykendall said.