Lobdell may extend hours
By Chris Schechter
Lobdell Court may stay open until 2 am and be run entirely by students during finals week if ARA and the Department of Housing and Food Services can remove obstacles to implementing the schedule in time.
"The only reason we can implement this is that students are perfectly willing to work these hours," said Alan Leo, general manager of MIT Food Services. After 11 pm, only Itza Pizza and the Easy Go sections will be open. "I don't expect any further growth of the program. It all depends on how well it turns out." Leo added.
The idea of extending Lobdell's hours during finals week originated from a collaboration between the MIT Food Services and the dormitory cafeteria managers, who observed students' habits in Lobdell.
In addition, the reopening of the Stratton Reading Room on the fifth floor of the Julius A. Stratton '23 Student Center has increased student demand during later hours. "From a service point of view, it is a good idea," Leo said.
According to Leo, the new hours have not been "cost approved" yet. "Chances are the extra hours will be widely used, but for now we can only base our predictions on the attendance at 11 pm to predict the financial success of the initiative," Leo explained.
Although MIT Food Services is still working to coordinate and organize the program, the infrastructure for staying open longer is ready. "We do not anticipate any problems on our side. Presently we are just trying to get everything coordinated," Leo said.
Once the program is ready to be implemented, the Department of Housing and Food Services will try to work out any schedule conflicts the extended hours may cause.
"Lobdell is in the Student Center and some activities may have been scheduled in Lobdell during finals," said John T. McNeill, associate director of MIT Food Services. McNeill does not know yet if the new closing hours will run into any scheduling conflicts. "I would not even venture to guess if we will encounter any scheduling conflicts," he said.
An advertisement in The Tech two weeks ago announced the imminent start of the late night plan. However, the new schedule was never actually implemented. "The ad was premature, a mistake on our part," Leo said.
The ad was printed before the food services department asked the Housing department and of the Campus Activities Complex for approval, delaying the project until finals week. "This has to be a community effort; we have to work together," McNeill explained.
If the new schedule is a success, it could be extended into next semester. But for the moment, MIT Food Services is gathering information and testing the idea. "This year we are still investigating the market," Leo said.