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ARA Changes Reflect Feedback, Finances

By Eva Moy
News Editor

Since last spring, there have been several changes in the food service, including the addition of a MacGregor House Convenience Store, a Mrs. Fields' cookie cart, and clear labeling of vegetarian foods. Pritchett Snack Bar has closed, and Walker Memorial will be open fewer hours.

The MacGregor Convenience Store is "an outgrowth of the small convenience store that was there before," Leo said. It replaces the Next House convenience store, although the Next House Snack Bar is still open, he said.

The store was moved to MacGregor because of student demand and because it was more accessible than Next House, Leo said. The store is located in a remodeled portion of what was the dining hall. It is directly accessible from the courtyard, allowing customers to enter the store without checking in at the front desk, he said.

The idea was to "make a store that resembles a little mom-and-pop store" for the far west side of campus, said Matthew G. Arno '93, student manager of the store.

The store is run entirely by students, with one ARA supervisor. In addition to the manager, there is also one assistant manager and seven or eight cashiers, Arno said.

The success of the store will determine what will happen with convenience stores on campus in the future. "I think it's going to work really well," Leo said.

Another recent addition is the Mrs. Fields' Cookie Cart in Building 66. This is "a small satellite service," similar to the Building 4 Coffee Shop. The cookie cart is located where many students and staff pass every day "to bring the service to where the people are," Leo said.

Leo added that he is aware the prices are high, but "people like Mrs. Fields' cookies." He hopes to add packaged discounts, such as combinations of cookies and a cup of coffee, to make the total deal more affordable.

Pritchett will be closed

On the east side of campus, in Walker Memorial, Morss Hall will have limited dinner hours, and Pritchett Snack Bar will be closed. This decision was made based on customer use, demand, and financial restrictions which partly resulted in allowing voluntary meal plans for all students, Leo said.

Morss Hall continues to serve continental breakfast and lunch, but closes from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and re-opens for dinner from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. However, Leo said that these hours may change depending on customer feedback.

Earlier this summer, the housing office had planned to close Walker and leave Pritchett open, Leo said. But "if the objective is to feed students nutritious meals," then Morss Hall is the better choice.

Leo also received letters from about 30 students, almost all of whom were against keeping only Pritchett open. Leo summarized their opinions: "They can't see Pritchett as an alternative to dinner." Pritchett offered mainly burgers, sandwiches, fries, and other snacks.

As for the near future, Leo said, "It's unlikely that Pritchett will re-open."

Senior House resident Todd O. Dampier '94 said, "I can understand why they are closing because of economic reasons, but I would like to see both open for convenience." He added that Pritchett and Morss Hall serve very different clientele.

Aaron H. Banner '96, one of the students who wrote to Leo, said, "I'm a little bit upset about [the new decision]. I didn't envision that they'd close Pritchett entirely."

Banner also suggested additional hours for Morss Hall and broadening the menu to more closely match that of Lobdell Court.