Dining renovations complete on Ole Miss campus
By Bill DeJournett
As the fall semester nears at the University of Mississippi, two new construction projects on campus have been completed and are open for business.
The new Rebel Market and renovations to the Olivia and Archie Manning Performance Center will provide essential dining services to Ole Miss students and athletes.
The Rebel Market, located next to the Paul B. Johnson Commons on Dormitory Row West, recently completed a two-year renovation at a cost of approximately $14.5 million.
“The name of the concept was developed and voted on by the student body. As far as development, this project has been in the works for almost the entire time I’ve been back on campus,” said Jonathan Parker, resident district manager for the Aramark Corporation. “It was tabled once, and we revisited it a couple of times, and finally had everything come together to work and were able to accomplish the project.
“The idea is that we have four independent kitchens that all have product made as fresh as possible… it’s all exhibition-style, cooked to order in front of the customer. We expect to have up to 4,000 customers per day, going into the fall semester. That’s our target. We have to be very sensitive to the time it takes to prepare product versus maintaining that fresh, cooked-to-order atmosphere that we’ve created.”
The four independent kitchens of the Rebel Market were designed to be flexible in order to anticipate student needs.
“Currently we have the grill—made to order grill and deli—an Italian station with a stone oven pizza, made to order pasta, all of which are made from scratch in-house,” said Parker. “We have what we call our ‘comfort station’, your traditional ‘meat and three’, and then we have a sushi bar and a Mongolian grill. Those concepts will change throughout the year. We have a very unique situation on a college campus in that you have a captive audience. Students are very demanding and particular about what they want to eat, so you have to look to the customer and ensure that you change your menu offerings to meet their ever-changing demands.”
Also recently completed were renovations to the Manning Center, formerly known as the Indoor Practice Facility. According to associate athletic director for facility operations Joe Swingle, the renovations to the facility include a new main entrance, added additional square footage in the weight room with a new office, total renovation of the locker room, a new team meeting room and a head coach’s suite.
The project also included renovation of the banquet room to a full-service dining facility called the Grill at 1810. “That project has also been in the works almost as long as the Rebel Market,” Parker said. “The menu development there is based on the performance and nutrition needs of student-athletes, but anyone is welcome to eat there. All the meal plans allow access to that facility and this facility. So we’ve tried to open up the entire campus for dining. The meal plan is structured so that you can go anywhere at any time and get something to eat.”
The renovations to the Manning Center took approximately 10 months to complete at a cost of $12.5 million.
The Rebel Market and the Grill at 1810 honor a variety of campus meal plans and flex dollars, and the general public can purchase individual lunch meals for $10. For details, visit the campus dining website- www.campusdish.com/en-US/CSS/OleMiss.