More students equal longer lines: UK students seeing increase in waiting times for food



By Anyssa Roberts

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The average person spends five years of their life waiting in lines, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This is also a reality for UK students, making long wait times in the Student Center a concern for both students and officials. Extended wait times at UK can easily be attributed to the growing number of students on campus.

Waiting in a line of nearly 20 students was sophomore Bill Brafsky. Brafsky says UK’s growth in student population can probably be attributed to the National Championship win.

More eyes are on the school making people from around the country more interested in UK.

“Lines have definitely increased from last year,” Brafsky said. “They’re a lot longer. I have waited a max of about 30 minutes once. With my schedule break it hasn’t messed up my schedule, but I’m sure for other students it’s a lot more difficult.”

Brafsky had been in line for 15 minutes before reaching the top of the entrance to Subway restaurant in the Student Center.

“Student Affairs has made a conscious effort in all of our divisions to develop programs that students want and need,” Dr. Mock said. “Our freshman numbers keep increasing because students want to come to the University of Kentucky; they see value in the educational experience they receive.”

UK is building about 5,000 more beds according to Dr.Mock. Additions mean students must be able to fill these beds and they must be accommodated.

“(UK has) always been responsive to the changing student needs and traffic patterns as it relates to venues in the dining center,” said Jim Wims, associate vice president of student life. “Plans are underway to build three new residential dining facilities that will be designed with customer throughput to address efficiencies in service.”

Over the years, UK has added national franchise concepts to both the Student Center dining and the UK bookstore which has received equally large amounts of traffic.

“Books aren’t exactly the most sexy thing to sell. A great increase in student interest can be attributed to the new brands, the clothes and other products sold in the bookstore,” Student Services Director John Herbst said.

Traffic in the student center has been on a steady rise with the greatest increase occurring between the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. In 2010-11 1,438,776 students were in the student center and in 2011-2012 the number jumped to 1,899,625 according to Herbst.

This is more than a 400,000 person increase in student traffic over a time span of two years, and “more traffic than Rupp arena sees in an entire year,” Herbst said.

Having a full house of students can be good for business, but bad for safety.

“I think what Mr. Wims and his staff have done is created an environment that’s in the market that students want. With as many students that come through the student center every day, it must mean we are doing something right in terms of providing food and entertainment for the students,” Herbst said.

The Student Center has 604 seats, and the fire capacity in the center is 679 seats this leaves a buffer of 75 seats standing and sitting.

This is measured by the square footage for lines, servers and food pickup. When dealing with such a large number of students in one building area, there is no time for confusion or hesitation; the students must be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if the building should be evacuated.

“In the Student Center, our philosophy here is we try to operate the building as much as possible and train people here to handle these types of situations,” Herbst said. “We have a safety and security coordinator here who handles the training.”