Uni food, retail overhaul

The University of Otago is looking to boost its retail and food offerings as part of a plan to liven up the Dunedin campus.

James Lindsay
James Lindsay

The university issued  a tender last week calling for businesses to develop a "campus-wide food, beverage and retail strategy".

The aim was for overhauled food and retail offerings to boost both the finances of the university and create a more vibrant campus.

University campus and collegiate life services director James Lindsay said it was "too early" to say when the overhaul might begin.

"We are just gathering quotes from industry specialists to ask the right questions and develop a proper strategy that will be aligned to the campus master plan.

"The strategy will reveal proposals and from there we can consider timeframes in view of practicalities like funding [and] timing," he  said.

The focus would not be on shopping, as Dunedin already had plenty of  options.

It would instead be focused on dining and creating a more lively after-5pm environment for students, staff, campus visitors and the public.

"This could include more hospitality, food, multiservice or retail outlets on the campus."

It had opted to go to an outside contractor to develop a strategy because the area was becoming "very specialised" and it was more efficient and effective to go to specialists.

The new plan would also give campus users an opportunity to contribute to the future of the campus.

The  plan  specifically talks about developing a more vibrant campus in a way which complements rather than competes with the establishments and services in the wider city.

The strategy could involve changing the management and ownership model of outlets, which could include leasing outlets and space to "other providers".

The plan was signalled earlier this year by chief operating officer Stephen Willis when he announced priorities for the university’s refreshed operations group.

This included adding vibrancy to the university at night  as  having an outstanding student experience was not just about "9 to 5, Monday to Friday", he said.

"The campus is ... a wonderful feature of Dunedin life and I think there is opportunity for more community and student engagement on campus, such as providing more things students want, changing hours of operations and rejuvenating the student dining areas and service offerings available."

Comments

The campus has had an amazing landscaping upgrade in recent years and looks outstanding. It would be great for the Dunedin public to dine there!

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