The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees approved a 10-year food service management agreement with Aramark. The agreement calls for a one percent increase to the university for the 2012-13 fiscal year. Trustees voted not to increase the board rate for students.
A committee of faculty, staff and students evaluated food service proposals from Aramark and Sodexo. The committee was unanimous in its decision for the Aramark proposal. Also, the financial aspects of the proposals were analyzed by three professors from the College of Business. The business professors concluded that the Aramark proposal was the better of the two from a financial standpoint.
"This contract was negotiated thoroughly, " said UCA President Tom Courtway. "It's a good contract and keeps us very competitive with our rates for students."
Under the proposed agreement, Aramark would make new capital investments only if the university agreed to have them made. The proposed capital investments would be made at Student Center Food Court, the Starbucks location in Torreyson Library, a new food truck and Burdick Deli in the amount of $1.5 million and an additional $900,000 for the cafeteria and Bear Village Store in 2013, according to the agreement.
Also during its meeting Monday, the board approved a three percent increase in housing rates. The increase would assist university officials in maintaining and upgrading housing facilities. The current deferred maintenance for university housing is estimated at more than $17 million. The estimated revenue generated from the proposed increase is $330,000 per year. The double-occupancy room and board rate would be $2,635 for the 2012-13 academic year. The three percent increase keeps the university's room and board rates among the lowest in the state. The university currently ranks 6th in room and board rates.
Austin Hall, president of the Student Government Association, said the SGA understands the needs concerning campus housing and supports the increase. He expressed the student government's appreciation for keeping the board rates the same.
In other business, the board:
* authorized the administration to establish a contract with United Healthcare for health insurance coverage from July 1 to December 31. The University will absorb the 2.4 percent increase in premiums – more than $94,500 – so that no premium increases will be passed on to employees. The university plans to issue a request for proposals for health insurance for the 2013 calendar year. The proposals will be presented to the board in the fall of 2012.
*Approved $200,000 from the Board of Trustees’ University Improvement Fund to be pledged for the SGA Amphitheater.
*Appointed the following individuals to the President’s Residence Advisory Committee: UCA Trustee Elizabeth Farris; Austin Hall, SGA; Ann Bryant, UCA Faculty; Don Bingham, UCA Staff; Patsy Newton, Alumni Association; Sue Snow Cooper, UCA Foundation; and at-large members Lynne Tiner, Jane Authurs, and Georg Anderson.