The fate of the former Darnall Hall cafeteria remains uncertain after GUSA’s December deadline for the selection of vendors to fill the vacant space passed without a decision, Eammon Carr (COL ’06), secretary of housing and facilities for the student association, said.

“Unlike colleges and universities, the business world does not operate on a semester schedule,” he said. “As a result, it often takes several years for a property to be redeveloped and a new business to operate in a particular facility.”

Carr added that GUSA is pleased with the progress of the negotiations, which he said had recently entered their final stages. Those involved in the negotiations said that the actual opening of a refurbished Darnall is now several months away.

Margie Bryant, associate vice president of auxiliary services, said that although the deadline has passed, a meeting held recently would solidify plans for the next step.

“We’re very close now,” Bryant said. “We’re not going to compromise the process.”

As many as eight vendors have been considered as possible occupants of the former dining hall, Carr said.

“We are determining the best working relationships between the vendors,” he said.

Carr and Bryant disagreed about the role that the university’s living wage policy, known as the Just Employment Policy, had on the process’s speed.

Bryant said that she did not feel that the living wage policy, which requires that all subcontracted university employees receive at least $13 an hour with benefits, played any significant role in the bidding process.

“I haven’t heard any of the vendors saying anything about it,” she said. “I haven’t seen it be a determining factor.”

Carr disagreed, saying that the living wage policy has created additional hurdles, more closely related to requirements for health benefits than to wage issues.

Potential vendors must be willing to comply with policies with which they are not necessarily familiar, said Carr.

“New contractors would be held to the labor standards of the JEP so that their workers would make a living wage,” Maya Zwerdling, spokeswoman for the Georgetown Solidarity Committee, said.

The living wage policy provides a minimum compensation for all full-time workers to cover the basic needs of life in Washington, D.C. It takes into account seven factors, including “the costs of housing, health care, child care, transportation, taxes, food and other basic necessities,” according to the university’s Web site.

Carr said that he did not feel that the delays created any significant problem, however.

Bryant said that student participation is very important, and that the process will be opened up for their evaluation soon.

“I believe that we have been able to balance the living wage policy, the just treatment of workers, with the need to make a decision in a timely and business-like fashion,” Carr said. “These vendors are willing to work with us in whatever capacity in order to get the bid.”

Carr also said that delays had been caused by desires by some vendors to make external alterations to Darnall, such as awnings. Such potential alterations would need approval from the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

Despite any construction that may be required, it is likely that the vendor will be installed and running by the end of the semester, Carr said.

“It all depends on the bidder and how much needs to be done,” Bryant said.

Bryant said that she expects the Darnall space to be filled by fall of 2006.

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The fate of the former Darnall Hall cafeteria remains uncertain after GUSA’s December deadline for the selection of vendors to fill the vacant space passed without a decision, Eammon Carr (COL ’06), secretary of housing and facilities for the student association, said.

“Unlike colleges and universities, the business world does not operate on a semester schedule,” he said. “As a result, it often takes several years for a property to be redeveloped and a new business to operate in a particular facility.”

Carr added that GUSA is pleased with the progress of the negotiations, which he said had recently entered their final stages. Those involved in the negotiations said that the actual opening of a refurbished Darnall is now several months away.

Margie Bryant, associate vice president of auxiliary services, said that although the deadline has passed, a meeting held recently would solidify plans for the next step.

“We’re very close now,” Bryant said. “We’re not going to compromise the process.”

As many as eight vendors have been considered as possible occupants of the former dining hall, Carr said.

“We are determining the best working relationships between the vendors,” he said.

Carr and Bryant disagreed about the role that the university’s living wage policy, known as the Just Employment Policy, had on the process’s speed.

Bryant said that she did not feel that the living wage policy, which requires that all subcontracted university employees receive at least $13 an hour with benefits, played any significant role in the bidding process.

“I haven’t heard any of the vendors saying anything about it,” she said. “I haven’t seen it be a determining factor.”

Carr disagreed, saying that the living wage policy has created additional hurdles, more closely related to requirements for health benefits than to wage issues.

Potential vendors must be willing to comply with policies with which they are not necessarily familiar, said Carr.

“New contractors would be held to the labor standards of the JEP so that their workers would make a living wage,” Maya Zwerdling, spokeswoman for the Georgetown Solidarity Committee, said.

The living wage policy provides a minimum compensation for all full-time workers to cover the basic needs of life in Washington, D.C. It takes into account seven factors, including “the costs of housing, health care, child care, transportation, taxes, food and other basic necessities,” according to the university’s Web site.

Carr said that he did not feel that the delays created any significant problem, however.

Bryant said that student participation is very important, and that the process will be opened up for their evaluation soon.

“I believe that we have been able to balance the living wage policy, the just treatment of workers, with the need to make a decision in a timely and business-like fashion,” Carr said. “These vendors are willing to work with us in whatever capacity in order to get the bid.”

Carr also said that delays had been caused by desires by some vendors to make external alterations to Darnall, such as awnings. Such potential alterations would need approval from the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

Despite any construction that may be required, it is likely that the vendor will be installed and running by the end of the semester, Carr said.

“It all depends on the bidder and how much needs to be done,” Bryant said.

Bryant said that she expects the Darnall space to be filled by fall of 2006.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.