McCall Dining Hall was closed temporarily on Sept. 24 and 25 due to extremely high temperatures inside the dining hall.
Temperatures reached 92.9 degrees in the dining area and 114 degrees in the kitchen. The unsuitable conditions caused a temporary shutdown of the cafeteria.
Many students who live on Grambling’s campus expressed frustration with the incident.
McCall’s management was aware of the inconvenience, but tried to work through it.
Nevertheless, the high temperatures persisted, making the cafeteria not only an uncomfortable environment to eat in, but even worse for the employees to cook in. Actions had to be taken in order to fix the conditions within the facility.
Sodexo General Manager Alan Johnson said that it was a must that the dining hall have a period of closing because of how uncomfortable the heat in the cafeteria actually was.
“I was going over to the retail location, and I saw a student eating, and he was literally sweating,” Johnson said. “At that point, I felt the need to reach out to the university and tell them that I did not think the facility was conducive to dine in.”
From there, Johnson and the university came to a decision together to do what they believed would benefit the students. The cafeteria itself was closed temporarily, but to-go meals were served at the The Bistro. Students were advised to dine in the seating in The Bistro, or to dine inside of Tiger Express, this way students could still eat and be comfortable.
“Some students were inconvenienced because the Caf is a place where students like to fellowship,“ Johnson said. “At the same time, there were other students who were glad that we recognized an issue, knew something must be done about it, and acted on it in a timely manner.”
Around 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, the Caf was reopened and back in use.
Sodexo’s staff is excited about the future of McCall Dining Hall and feels that students are enjoying the improvements being made.
Cafeteria Supervisor Montra Gardner has been working in the cafeteria for years and is enjoying the direction in which things are going.
“People seem to be enjoying themselves, which is something we want all students to experience,” Gardner said. “Whether it is at 7 p.m. or 3 a.m., we want everyone to be happy, full and greeted with a smile.”
Though the cafeteria is making some improvements, Johnson said what has happened is not even scratching the surface of what the Caf plans to do.
“We are happy that things are better, but I tell students, ‘just wait’,” Johnson said. “We are looking forward to 2020, where we will do an entire remodeling, where everything out there will change and the atmosphere will be completely different.”
Everything that is being done is for the benefit of the students, and the goal is that all students will have an enjoyable Caf experience.
“My goal for the dining hall is for the Caf to be the place to be,” Johnson said, “from the food to the environment, providing students with a place where they can enjoy themselves and also have a great meal.”