By DIANE R. CHODAN
OBSERVER Staff Writer
A low concrete building called the Services Complex (sometimes referred to as Fort Apache or the bomb shelter) is located on Ring Road on the campus of SUNY Fredonia. Most students pay little attention to the building, unless they work there or use it as a marker for giving directions. The complex contains central receiving, garage, grounds, and maintenance departments. The building has been there since 1954.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
Kim Collins, an FSA bake shop employee, gets ready to glaze a tray of Timbits that are sold in the Tim Hortons on campus.
It also contains the Faculty Student Association's (FSA) Shaw commissary and support services for the dining facilities and cafes located on campus. Because the total student population at SUNY Fredonia is about 5,700 students and those living on campus number around 2,600, a lot of support is necessary. Besides two large dining facilities, Cranston Marche and Marketplace at Erie, there are a number of smaller places where food is available, including a Starbucks, a Tim Hortons, a convenience store and a number of cafes in different buildings on campus.
The Faculty Student Association at Fredonia was incorporated in 1951. It is a private corporation governed by the Not-for-Profit Corporation Laws of the State of New York. The by-laws of the corporation detail the purpose, meeting requirements, director responsibilities and the specification for the corporation assets and fund. Any income after operating expenses and funding requirements is used to benefit the university by supporting numerous campus programs.
Recently the FSA board of directors was invited to tour the support services operation. The board consists of three college administrative representatives, three faculty members, seven students, a member of the classified service at the college, and a non-voting alumni representative. The invitation was extended so that the new board members could have an opportunity to better understand the operation and its magnitude.
The first thing readily apparent is the FSA employees who work at the Services Complex have to get up early in the morning. Before 7 a.m., product is already being delivered and employees are baking, preparing salads and sandwiches, and working in the laundry room. By 7:50 a.m. the FSA truck is making deliveries to dining sites on campus.
Although students are stereotyped as people who like to sleep late, that wasn't apparent at central prep where a combination of student employees and career employees were assembling Sante Fe salads to be delivered to the cafes on campus. For the students who work there, the early hours help them fit in work around their class obligations. FSA employs about 300 students who must work at least ten hours per week. It also employees about 130 union employees and 35 supervisors. Amazingly enough, all the employees were smiling and apparently enjoying their jobs.
Sandwiches are prepared in a climate controlled room. According to Ron Wasik, the director of support services, "The temperature is kept between 42 to 48 degrees (Fahrenheit). This helps avoid spoilage." Here again, employees were smiling while they worked, although it was clear that they bundled up to deal with the cold temperature.
According to Commissary manager Fred Tripp, "About 1,200 pieces are prepared a day." By piece, he meant a sandwich or a salad.
The second thing readily apparent was the sheer size of equipment being utilized to prepare the large quantity recipes. Jeff Keddie, the supervisor who works in the bake shop, said about 1500 pieces (doughnuts, pastries, and muffins) are prepared daily in this operation. He recently attended training a four-day training session at the Culinary Institute of America to learn more about managing a large scale bakeshop.
An employee in the bakeshop used a a gigantic heavy duty mixer to create a batch of dough that would yield dozens of blueberry muffins. Meanwhile, Kim Collins, another employee at the bakeshop, removed a cart loaded with chocolate chip muffins from the mammoth convection oven. The bakeshop, in contrast to the climate controlled prep room was very warm.
"I am used to the temperature," Collins said. "Sometimes those who work in the prep room come here during breaks to get warm."
Another person who enjoys her job, Collins also demonstrated how she glazes large numbers of timbits for sale at the Tim Hortons facility on campus. The joke was the timbits ought to be called "Kimbits." The bakeshop also prepares recipes according to specifications supplied by Starbucks.
A large catering kitchen, also located in the services center, is used to prepare for special events on campus, ranging from teas and coffees to banquets.
Two popular food items on campus are chili and taco meat. This too is prepared in quantity. When asked how much hamburger is used in a year, Fred Tripp thought for a moment and then estimated 4,000 pounds a year.
Washers and driers are also located in the complex. Aprons and linens are some of the items that must be washed daily. A mind boggling 400 to 460 pounds of laundry are done each day. Chris Sipp is the employee who does all the laundry, and according to Wasik, "she also does other jobs."
When asked whether she has someone else do her laundry, she smiled and said, "No, I go home and have to do my own."
Though the complex may not be the best-known building on campus, the employees who work there clearly provide important services for the Fredonia campus community.
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