Auxiliary Services News

March 29, 2016

Early spring is when parking permit rates are proposed and approved for the upcoming academic year. For the THIRD year in a row, the recommendation is that the cost of UNC Charlotte parking permits remain the same.

That's right, NO INCREASE! This is welcome news, especially to those who remember that prior to 2014-15, permit prices rose five to eight percent every year. 

The price of UNC Charlotte parking permits is determined by how much will be needed to support a ten-year financial plan that will pay for parking that accommodates enrollment. Although enrollment continues to increase, parking availability is meeting demand (recent space count data proves this) as more students avail themselves to remote parking options, taking campus- or apartment complex-provided shuttles, ride sharing, walking, and biking. As a result, there's no need to plan, build and pay for additional parking facilities at this time.

Want to know more about how permit price is determined and where the money goes? Read The Truth About UNC Charlotte Parking.

March 21, 2016

"The parking at UNCC is ridiculous," someone Tweeted just before 11 a.m., the first Monday after Spring break. It's very likely that student was looking for a space in or near Union, West or East parking decks and all were full, just like any other weekday morning when classes are most densely scheduled. The competition for close-to-class parking, made worse by those who stubbornly circle full decks and lots instead of moving on, makes her Tweet ring true.

But it doesn't have to be that way. There's plenty of parking available in other areas.

Space counts, which are taken regularly, show that UNC Charlotte has sufficient parking for visitors, faculty, staff, and students. Students are the population who most heavily use parking and for whom most of the parking is designated. 

Student parking at a glance

Bar graph showing occupied and empty parking spaces in Yellow Commuter lots, Orange Commuter/Resident lots and Blue Resident lots

Student parking by the numbers

Here are the numbers for Spring 2016, Monday - Thursday.* Italicized rows are areas that tend to fill at peak class times. Bold entries have the most parking to spare.

Student Parking Space Count, Spring 2016

 Location Total Available Unoccupied 10:00 AM Unoccupied 12:00 PM Unoccupied 2:00 PM Unoccupied 4:00 PM Unoccupied 6:00 PM
Lot 26 (at FM/Police Bldg) 86 4 8 3 32 70
North Deck 1171 730 673 697 724 785
Lot 25 (across from Witherspoon) 497 125 151 138 43 60
Lot 19 (by Union Deck) 261 0 0 4 38 49
Lot 18 (by Union Deck) 94 1 2 4 31 55
Union Deck 682 107 9 93 216 354
CRI Deck 1 1343 319 302 297 319 393
CRI Lot 2 128 0 0 4 18 107
Lot 23 (CRI by stadium) 174 0 1 2 15 65
Lot 14 (by Tennis complex) 27 3 1 0 5 10
West Deck 760 30 28 45 189 452
Lot 7A (Memorial Hall) 37 0 0 1 11 31
Lot 7 (behind Cone Deck) 123 0 2 1 2 4
Lot 101 Foundation Bldg. 60 25 33 41 39 49
South Village Deck 1101 386 377 402 457 477
Lot 8 (adjacent to South Village Deck) 238 23 33 26 57 43
Lot 8A  60 0 0 2 1 0
Lot 16 (Oak, Pine, Maple, Elm) 233 0 1 1 8 9
Lot 20 (behind Witherspoon) 105 0 0 2 0 0
Lot 21 (next to Witherspoon) 134 0 0 1 2 6
Lot 12 (NE corner Mary Alex & Cameron) 84 9 7 11 13 42
Lot 13 (Hawthorn) 140 1 4 7 8 12
Greek Village 324 123 127 139 141 158
Lot 6 (off Martin Village Rd.) 565 314 182 323 330 416
Lot 5 (Van Landingham Rd.) 582 21 50 95 209 374
Lot 5A (Van Landingham) 257 90 47 94 149 212
Lot 4A (Van Landingham at John Kirk) 128 12 17 31 56 103
East Deck 3 804 83 104 196 374 571
East Deck 2 539 6 21 41 80 157
TOTAL 9,690** 2,408 2,173 2,671 3,777 5254

Main points for Commuters:

  • Everyone wants to park as close as they can to their class and most classes are scheduled from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Therefore, more students are trying to park in the same places at the same time. Your competition is stiff.
  • Take a look at the Commuter parking areas in bold. They are generally the least crowded and every one of them has a shuttle stop.
  • For just one day, try parking in Lot 6, North Deck or South Village Deck. The Red Line runs three buses from Lot 6 through the center of campus via the Student Union and out to the CRI campus Monday through Thursday (two buses on Friday). You can catch the Green Line from North Deck and both the Yellow and Green Lines from South Village Deck.
  • Download the UNCCNextRide app or access the NextRide mobile web site you view where the shuttle is and when it will get to your stop. 
  • It feels counterintuitive to park farther away from where you're going but just try it ONCE. You will likely find it doesn't take much longer and that it's less stressful to easily find parking in a lower-demand area and take the shuttle or walk to class. Once you've tried an alternative parking area, it won't feel as annoying to park there on days when your preferred parking is full.
  • There's NO REASON to park illegally in a full lot or deck and risk getting a citation and there's NO REASON to circle a deck until you miss class.

Here's your incentive to try parking at one of the least-used areas

The first ten permit-holding Commuters who park in one of the bold areas and Tweet a selfie of their car parked there, mention @unccparking and/or use hashtag #parkedfar, will get a deck voucher for one day of free visitor parking at a Visitor deck. (Visitor deck areas are at Cone, East 1, Union, CRI 1 and South Village). That might be really nice to have for that day when you're running late.

*Counts taken over a two week period of normal class schedule (no holiday/break).

** Student parking space total. Does not include Faculty/Staff gated access, reserved, ADA/van accessible/handicapped, motorcycle, metered, visitor or discount remote parking. (Campus total 13,970.)

Learn more: The Truth About UNC Charlotte Parking

Questions? Email or Tweet @unccparking or call 704-687-0161. The PaTS Call Center line is open 24/5 weekdays, 5 a.m. Monday through 10 p.m. Friday.


January 19, 2016

UNC Charlotte students, community make lifesaving impact at seventh annual blood drive

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — University of North Carolina at Charlotte blood drive organizers are aiming for a new record this year: 1,000 pints of blood collected at the annual 49ers4Life  blood drive on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Previous blood drives have come close but never surpassed the 1,000-pint finish line; last year’s drive yielded about 800 pints. This year, organizers are hoping that students, alumni and community members respond to the call for blood donors by rolling up a sleeve and donating. 

“Winter is one of the toughest times for the Red Cross to collect enough blood to meet patient needs,” said Ryan Corcoran, donor recruitment director for the Red Cross. “When the UNC Charlotte community comes together for this drive, they can help boost the blood supply – and ultimately offer hope to patients in need of blood transfusions.” The American Red Cross has an urgent need for blood and platelet donations to prevent a shortage this winter. Busy holiday schedules in November and December contributed to about 1,700 fewer blood drives held across the country compared to the two previous months, which has resulted in about 50,000 fewer donations and reduced the blood supply. 

Donors can help mitigate this shortfall at the blood drive on Tuesday, Jan. 26 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at UNC Charlotte’s Barnhart Student Activity Center, 9201 University City Blvd. 

Those who come out to donate blood will receive a specially designed “I Bleed 49ers Green” T-shirt, while supplies last, and be entered to win additional prizes like spirit gear from Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte bookstore. 

Since 2010, the college has hosted the drive to help increase blood donations during the challenging winter season. Seasonal illnesses, like the flu, can cause some donors to become temporarily ineligible to donate, and winter weather can lead to canceled blood drives. Despite these challenges, patients still depend on lifesaving donations every day. 

Photo of Shamari Inuwa, UNCC alumna who depends on blood donors.Shamari Inuwa is one of those patients. Shamari, a recent UNC Charlotte graduate, was born with sickle cell disease, an inherited red blood cell disorder. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. People with sickle cell disease have abnormally shaped red blood cells, and the condition can cause anemia, tissue and organ damage, strokes and pain. 

In high school, Shamari began experiencing numbness in her hands and feet, sometimes just for a few seconds. But over time, the loss of feeling in her hands and feet increased in frequency and duration. In the most severe episode, she stood up after class and felt half her body go numb. Extreme pain brought her to the emergency room, and doctors discovered that she was experiencing mini-strokes. Shamari needed a blood transfusion immediately.

“That initial transfusion saved my life,” she said. Shamari began receiving transfusions about once per month to reduce the risk of further mini-strokes, called transient ischemic attacks. She has continued the treatment over eight years—for a total of nearly 100 blood transfusions. “The transfusions have enabled me to have a normal life and successfully complete college, despite my illness,” she said. 

Shamari, who graduated with a degree in biology, hopes to use her education and personal experience to help others in the healthcare field. She’s an advocate for sickle cell disease research, and hopes to work toward more treatment options for the disease that affects as many as 100,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

She encourages people to give blood to make an impact. “Even though you don't know who your blood is going to, you know that it’s someone who really needs it, whether it’s a transplant patient, someone in an accident or someone with a serious chronic disorder,” she said. “It’s really true - you are prolonging life.”

Organizers recommend that donors schedule an appointment for this blood drive by visiting and entering the sponsor code “49ers4Life,” calling 1-800-RED CROSS or downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App. 

How to donate blood

To make an appointment, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or laptop. Visit to get started. 

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Banner about blood drive; Norm has arm with bandaid and red gauze indicating he has donated. Says Tue. Jan 26, 8am-7pm, Barnhardt Student Activity Center

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

January 12, 2016

Norm's hand holding a fork; a plate is behind it.Here's a great deal for students who enjoy the convenience of dining on campus. Commuters may find it especially beneficial and Faculty and Staff may take advantage of this promotion as well.

Deposit $300-$499, get 3 BONUS meal swipes for SoVi or Crown Commons

Deposit $500-$699, get 7 BONUS meal swipes for SoVi or Crown Commons 

Deposit $700-$899, get 13 BONUSmeal swipes for SoVi or Crown Commons 

Deposit $900 or more, get 20 BONUS meal swipes for SoVi or Crown Commons

Bonus meal swipes may be used at SoVi Dining in South Village Crossing and Crown Commons in the Student Union, Monday through Sunday, for any meal period. Optional Dining Account funds do not expire (ODA rolls over from semester to semester, year to year) but bonus meal swipes expire  May 11, 2016.

How to:

  • Go to 49erCard Online 
  • Log in, make sure you choose "Optional Dining Account" and deposit $300 or more to ODA. (Incentive bonus meals do not apply to funds deposited to 49er Account)
  • Deposited amount will show up immediately; bonus meals appear on the card by the following Monday.
  • For questions or assistance, call the 49er Card and Meal Plans office at 704-687-7337 or email

January 8, 2016

A new parking garage is being built beside the UNC Charlotte Center City Building. During this construction phase, parking spaces for CCB patrons have spread over multiple lots, resulting in times when permit-holders are challenged to find the spaces available to them.

Beginning Monday January 11, 20016, CCB parking will consolidate into two areas: 

  • Lot 319, located directly across 9th Street, and 
  • Lot 422, which is across N. Brevard Street. 
  • CCB patrons who currently park in Lot 300, between CCB and the light rail line, will be asked to park in Lot 319.

This change offers a better overall parking experience and maintains the number of spaces available to UNC Charlotte Center City. When the new parking facility is complete, CCB parking will be moved there.

Parking for UNC Charlotte Center City Building is provided through an arrangement with Preferred Parking, Inc. Questions regarding this change of arrangement should be directed to UNC Charlotte Center City administration, 704-687-8902.

January 8, 2016

Seventh annual campus-wide drive occurs at a time when the need for blood is greatest

UNC Charlotte students, faculty and staff will again team up with the American Red Cross in a campus-wide effort to bleed green and save lives. This year’s collection goal is 1,000 pints.

Giving a pint of blood is a meaningful act of kindness with the potential power to save three lives. Please consider joining your friends and colleagues and sign up to donate during the 49ers4Life campus-wide drive:

Tuesday, January 26

8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Barnhardt Student Activity Center

Those who come out to donate blood will receive a specially designed “I Bleed 49ers Green” t-shirt and be entered to win additional prizes like spirit gear from Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte bookstore. Illustration of the 49ers4Life drive t-shirt to be given to donors

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Accident victims, premature babies and patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses are among those dependent upon transfusions in order to survive.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, please call 1-800-733-2767 or visit and enter sponsor code 49ers4Life

UNC Charlotte is among several N.C. colleges and universities that collect blood with the American Red Cross; school spirit adds a cheery bit of competition to the drives. Appalachian State currently holds the system record. LET'S TAKE THEM DOWN!

In previous 49ers4Life campus-wide drives, students have been the driving force and the vast majority of donors. Increased participation from faculty, staff and alumni is very much needed.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be safely given every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people age 16 and older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets.

About the 49ers4Life campus-wide blood drive:

49ers4Life is supported by student groups which include HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America), Student Government Association (SGA), 49er Student Athletes, Lambda Chi Alpha, Delta Zeta, Kappa DeltaChi Omega, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma, Men’s Rugby, Zeta Tau Alpha, Kinesiology Student Organization, Public Health Association and MAPS.

University Sponsors: Business Services, Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte, Chartwells Dining Services, REPROS Copy Center, Union Station, Mail & Package Services and Student Union Activities & Recreation (SUAR)..

About the American Red Cross:

The Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 103 hospitals and must have 1,600 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or on Twitter, @RedCross.

December 9, 2015

Parking exam week through winter break

Thursday, December 10 – Sunday, January 10 is a period of relaxed enforcement for permit holders

This means:

  • Any semester or year-long permit is valid 24/7 and gate access will be adjusted accordingly

o   Two-Day permits are valid 7 days per week

o   Night permits are valid 24 hours per day

  •   Temporary (daily) permits are valid ONLY for the days purchased
  •   Any valid permit may park in any non-reserved student space and gate access will be adjusted accordingly

o   Commuter permits may park in Resident and Greek spaces

o   Resident permits may park in Commuter and Greek spaces

o   Greek permits may park in Commuter and Resident spaces

o   Faculty/Staff permits may park in any student space including Lot 16

o   Lot 6A and Lot 27 permits may park in any student space

Reminder about loading and unloading

For short term parking by a building to carry something in or out, call the PaTS Call Center at 704-687-0161. Give your vehicle information and location. You'll be given some direction and 15 minutes to park.

PaTS' Call Center line has someone available to help you 24/5 (weekdays from 5:00 AM continuously through 10:00 PM Friday). When in doubt, ASK, please!

Graduating or leaving the University?

Your full-time permit is still worth something! Turn it in to the Parking and Transportation Services office for a partial refund. Here’s the link to the refund policy and schedule.

Do not sell your permit to another student. UNC Charlotte parking permits may only be bought through PaTS.  Permits are registered to a specific person and vehicle. Selling a permit to someone to whom it’s not registered may subject you and them to fines and other penalties.


  • Call the PaTS Call Center, 704-687-0161
  • or email
  • We're also on Twitter, @unccparking.

Spring parking permit information

Permits are required to park anytime the University is open.  

Unable to buy a permit right away?

If you are waiting on a financial aid refund or other funds before purchasing a permit, you may buy a temporary permit to hold you over. Price is $6 per day for as many days as you think you'll need. Temporary permits are not available for online purchase.

If you bought a full-time permit last semester (C, R, G, 6A or L27), your permit will not expire until 8/15/16. Expiration date is on the back of our permit.

New students and those with Night and Two-day permits (sold by the semester):

  • Permits for spring semester are available for purchase online (credit or debit card only). 
  • Permits ordered by December 21 will be mailed on December 22.
  • Permits ordered after December 21 will be available for pick-up.

Permit Prices


  Full year beginning with spring semester


  Night Permit per semester (spring)


  Night Permit (spring and summer)

Student permit purchase/express pick-up at the Student Union:

Extended hours for Student permit purchase and pick up in January, including temporary permits, are  as follows*:

Student Union Art Gallery

Friday Jan. 8 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Saturday Jan. 9 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Sunday Jan. 10 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
Monday Jan. 11 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Tuesday Jan. 12 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Wednesday Jan. 13 8:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday January 14: return to normal hours (7:30 am-5:00 pm) in the Parking and Transportation Office (#23 on campus map; brown buidling across from McMillan greenhouse).

*Only faculty and staff will be served in the PaTS office on these dates.

Documents needed to purchase a parking permit:

  • 49er ID Card
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Driver’s License
  • Proof of Vehicle Insurance

Photo of North Deck against a rosy sky

Photo credit:

December 2, 2015

Road construction schedule for the weekend of December 4 - 6 will close two major intersections: Cameron and Craver (below Student Union at Hauser Alumni Center) and Cameron and Mary Alexander (by Student Health Center and Hawthorn). SafeRide evening transportation will have to alter stop order and route as a result. No interruption in service is expected but the required detours may add time. 

Remember, the UNCCNextRide app and mobile website shows the location of SafeRide vans and provides an estimate of when each will arrive at your pick-up stop. 


SafeRide route alteration, weekend of December 4-6

Stop order:

1. Atkins/Library Lane
2. Student Union
3. Witherspoon
4. North Deck
5. Belk
6. Miltimore
7. Wallis
8. Maple
9. Reese
10. Lot 7
11. Woodward
12. Grigg
13. Motorsports
14. CRI Deck
15. Duke
16. EPIC
17. South Village Deck
18. Moore/Sandford
19. Robinson
20. East Deck 2
21. Lot 5A
22. Lot 6
23. Greek Village South
24. Greek Village North
25. Hawthorn
26. Martin
27. Fretwell

November 20, 2015

South Village Crossing was the subject of a design feature in the November issue of On Campus Hospitality magazine (a national business publication that focuses on college and university food service). A reprint of the article follows.

South Village Crossing – All About Flexibility

Photo of the Euro station at SoVi dining hall, South Village Crossing, UNC CharlotteThe new South Village Crossing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was built with flexibility in mind.

The building is in the midst of the South Village residence area of campus, which is growing. “We did a sector plan for that entire area, which included this facility, three additional residence halls, a complete re-work of the roads and infrastructure and also a large parking deck with more than 1,000 spaces,” said Keith Wassum, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services with the university. “It was a larger project, which was significant because it allowed us to determine where it should be best located and how it might be connected to these residence areas.”

The new dining hall replaces what was affectionately known as the RDH (Residence Dining Hall), which was built in 1971, and would not be able to handle the expanding area of campus. “It needed to be replaced,” he said. “It served its purpose probably 10 years earlier.” The $35-million, 56,000-square-foot South Village Crossing was built to meet the growing needs. “We identified that growth was coming, and we planned for continuous growth; we thought that we needed to plan for the future,” said Ana Alvarez, director of Auxiliary Services. “Therefore, South Village Crossing is a lot more than just dining. It is much more than a residential dining hall.”

To design the facility, the school worked with dining partner Chartwells, Ricca Design Studios and Envision Strategies. “As part of that process, we had student focus groups,” said Wassum. “We talked with them about what they wanted, not only about the member dining, but we also asked them if we were going to have some late night, what would that look like? We also visited some facilities with our partners at Ricca. We looked at James Madison, Virginia Commonwealth and the University of Virginia.”

After the focus groups and campus visits, certain criteria became important for the new facility. “We decided early on that we wanted to provide variety,” he said. “We wanted to provide flexibility in that we didn’t want to have to have everything open. We wanted to have multiple stations so that we could have multiple stations open. We were interested in small-batch production and made-to-order — to be able to make it fresh and smaller. We planned to do small plates. We wanted to be interactive — everything to be out front — all of the cooking to be basically done in front of all the customers.”

Sustainability was also an important criteria. “We built pulp extractor systems,” said Wassum. “We have solar hot water built into the building. We’ve got panels on the roof. We wanted to look as much as we could at the equipment and design to figure out how we could be more sustainable. Also, in terms of the equipment itself, we wanted to be as efficient as we could, so we have things like a grease-extraction system. The grease from all of our fryers gets pumped out through the building over to a receptor, so we don’t have to cart grease through the dining hall.”

The school also worked with Chartwells to add more options for the increasing number of students with special dietary needs. “We wanted it to be flexible enough, and have areas that we could work with our foodservice partners to incorporate more options for those students, so we wouldn’t have to exempt or make an exception to the meal plan, but to be able to serve those students within the program’s parameters,” said Alvarez.

South Village Crossing features the school’s first takeout concept on the second floor of the building. It too has a flexible component. “The idea was to create an area that if you were on the run, you could do this take-out concept,” said Wassum. “But, also, we designed it so it can be used for more than take-out. We haven’t done a lot with this yet, but it can be used if need be as a venue itself. It can be used over certain breaks if we wanted to. It is a smaller area, and we could actually serve a fairly sizeable number of students out of that without opening up the whole dining facility.”

Offering the to-go option allows the students greater value on their meal plans. “Now, when students mention that they don’t have time to sit and have a meal and they are losing their swipes, we offer them a meal to go, so they can come in, swipe for a meal and actually take their container,” said Alvarez. “A lot of students want to take their meals back to their residence halls.”

The second floor also features the SoVi Market and Bakery. “We needed to expand our campus bakery,” said Wassum. “We decided to locate it in this facility. We wanted to make it more visible to students. We have a finish bakery that is a concept in itself that is actually in the dining hall. They use that to finish stuff, and we also have cases there with all of this fresh stuff. The main bakery production area we connected to the market.”

Also on the second floor is The Den by Denny’s, which is the late-night concept. “It is open from the afternoon until 1 a.m.,” said Alvarez. “We wanted to have something available on that side of campus to be that late-night option.”

Photo of The Den by Denny's restaurant in South Village CrossingWith the idea that the South Village Crossing would be more than just a dining facility, the second floor features lounge space with fireplaces and a multi-purpose room. “It is a gathering space. More students live on that side of the campus, and they are building more residence halls; so the idea was that they would use that as an extension of their dorm spaces,” said Wassum. “It does form sort of a hub for that residence community. It has lounges that look really nice, a multi-purpose room and some really nice places for students to gather.”

Also part of the facility is a seating space that opens up to a lake and a natural setting. “We wanted to have a flexible space,” said Alvarez. “Under inclement weather we could close it off, but you still felt like you were seated outside.”

On the first floor of the facility is the all-you-care-to-eat dining area, which has a number of flexible elements. The first station features a salad bar and yogurt parfait station.

“There is an Evo grill in the center of that salad bar where they can make fresh proteins for the salads: grilled chicken or whatever they are featuring that day,” said Jody Thompson, UNC Charlotte foodservice program manager. “Off to the left, they have a create-your-own deli bar, along with the toppings and different spreads and breads to create your deli sandwich. Behind the line, there is a hearth oven where they can have toasted sandwiches if they choose to do that. It is a manned bar. But it is also an open bar where they can create their own sandwich and put whatever on it they would like.”

Since the opening of the facility in January 2015, some modifications have been made to the way the students are served at the station. “What we found is that we wanted to do the small plates, and we wanted to have that interaction and that toasting of the sandwich, but what we heard in the first semester is that the students still want to have the ability to pick up a simple ham and cheese on their own and not necessarily have it toasted and not necessarily ask for it to be handed to them,” said Alvarez. “So we’ve made some modifications so that the program is not your traditional resident dining program where there is this deli bar and they can just pick up whatever they want and they are on their own. They can have a choice. This is what we have heard, ‘I still want to be able to get my sandwich on my own, but if I want to come the next day and have a nice, warm toasted sub, I can request that as well.’”

She continued, “We have had to be flexible enough to accommodate those requests. So far, it has worked well. We have a little bit of both. People still want their traditional hamburger and chicken fingers and things like that, and we are also serving paella in the small plates, and black beans.”

While students have mostly welcomed the new facility and the changes in offerings, “We have had students who reminisce about the old dining hall,” said Alvarez. “For example, initially, we hadn’t really given thought that we used to do Fried Chicken Thursday. One of the things they asked was, ‘Are we still doing Fried Chicken Thursdays?’ We realized you have to find that nice balance where you have that new program, with small plates, the culinary delights, but you still have to have some of those traditional, make-you-feel good foods. They want to be able to get a hamburger and a hot dog.”

To keep track of the new things that students like — and what they miss — Thompson has a “Food Crew,” a dining services advisory board. “They communicate regularly about bringing some of that back,” said Alvarez. “We listen and we try to roll that back out. It is definitely a win-win for everyone.”

Another adjustment for the students was the switch to small plates. “That was a really big change for them, because they truly are small plates,” she said. “The idea was that you could have as much as you want, but let’s not be wasteful. We wanted to encourage them to try different things.” Students do have the ability to customize their offerings at the stations. “At the grill station, they are doing grilled chicken, burgers, turkey burgers — anything that you would like to customize yourself,” said Thompson. “They are able to create their own. After they get their protein off of the grill, they are able to build it either with hot toppings or there is a cold side where they could do lettuce, tomato, onions and such. The hot toppings are chili, sautéed mushrooms and other items. They can use various cheeses and different rolls. It is very customizable.”

An Agua Fresca station offers flavored waters and customized juices. “We have a section of soda that is all sugar-free, so we isolate it to one side of the dining hall,” said Alvarez. “There are non-carbonated, sugar-free and caffeine-free options.”

The Euro Station offers a great deal of flexibility. “It was designed so basically you could produce pretty much any food that you want,” said Wassum. “We haven’t done this yet, but it was designed so that if you wanted to bring a restaurant in from off campus for a special event, they would have what they need.” “It is what you normally have in the back of the house in terms of a kitchen that a dining hall needs,” said Alvarez. “However, in this case, it is out front. The chefs are actually out front preparing.”

The equipment for the station is interchangeable. “It is set up to have three different pieces of equipment, so if we want to, we can go to our equipment garage and put a Teppanyaki grill, a carving station and a flat top,” said Wassum.“It gives us flexibility on a day-to-day basis, but also as trends change, the equipment is such that we could change the whole concept. Some of the concepts can be easily branded to be other concepts as time changes.”

All of the stations, including the Asian station and the hearth oven, are self-contained. “You have storage and refrigeration within each station,” said Alvarez. “You don’t have the chefs having to run to the back of the kitchen to grab anything. Everything is pretty much in their unit, and they can work there and interact with the student without breaking that momentum while they are serving. They can load everything that morning for the day, and they can work through the day without having to go back and prep.”

Digital menu boards have also enhanced the flexibility of the facility. “This is not the dining hall of 10 or 15 years ago where you walked in and had a sign over different stations that said this is the grill or this is the deli,” said Alvarez. “We don’t have any such signs. There are digital menu boards that tell you what is being served today. There is a lot of flexibility to be able to cater it to what we need.”

The stations also feature counters, hardware and food shields from BSI. “The designs are very fluid and the colors change from one section to the other, so it is not all very cookie cutter,” said Alvarez.

“There are backlit elements to draw your attention to each station,” Wassum added. “Almost every cooking area has a presentation area with a food shield, so that from a student’s perspective, you have a food shield, you have the range they are cooking on and the chef is interacting with them while they are preparing the meal.”

The school had to also meet rigid food-shield guidelines for its county. “We are subject to the county guidelines, which sometimes are difficult for foodservice designers,” he said. “They are more restrictive than most places. That was a real challenge, getting all of that right, but also doing it in a way where you don’t really notice it, but you are still looking through at people. A lot of it goes away; you aren’t focused on the food shields, you are seeing the person behind it.”

In addition to a learning curve for students, the culinary staff had to make some adjustments to their own style of serving and interacting with the students. “There is a  training curve involved because suddenly you have cooks, sous chefs and prep people who would typically be behind the scenes,” said Alvarez. “It does take a change in culture to educate everyone that they are now expected to interact with the students, be able to answer questions, be more educated about what they are serving and that kind of thing. There is a little bit of a learning curve to that changing of the program.” She continued, “If you were to ask me last semester, initially we struggled a little bit with finding the right folks to do the different functions that are now required of them, because it is very interactive, and you have to get to know the students and you have to chat with them. The students want that experience. I think now that we have gone through an entire semester, they are starting to recognize that it is not only good for the students, but it is good for them. They are actually able to step out of their comfort zones, and they are starting to build relationships with these students that they see on a daily basis. It helps our program. It makes our students happy, and satisfied that they can talk to people that they see every day.”

Key Players

Brad Crotts, Perkins Eastman, Architect

Lenny Condenzio, Ricca Design Studios, Partner

Tara Schroeder, Ricca Design Studios, Principal

Rob White, President, Envision Strategies

John Hutchison, Chartwells, Director of Resident Dining at South Village Crossing 

Terry Nahavandi, Chartwells, Resident District Manager

Keith Wassum, UNC Charlotte Associate Vice Chancellor Business Services

Ana Alvarez, UNC Charlotte, Director of Auxiliary Services

Jody Thompson, UNC Charlotte, Food Service Program Manager

Drew Averitt, UNC Charlotte, Facility Planner


"South Village Crossing - All About Flexibility" | Reprinted from the November 2015 issue of On-Campus Hospitality, 

©2015 Executive Business Media | Photo credit:  Kirk Snyder, BSI


November 17, 2015

Shuttle Stop on Mary Alexander near McEniry affected 

Beginning Thursday, November 19, road and sidewalk improvements along Mary Alexander Rd. will impact the Fretwell/McEniry shuttle stops (Green, Yellow and Red Lines). The bus shelter on the southbound side will be removed and stops on both sides of the street may move a few yards in either direction. If that's a regular stop for you, expect some fluidity for a couple weeks. Once the construction is complete, the bus shelter will be replaced.

Map showing the affected stop near Fretwell and McEniry on Mary Alexander Rd.

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