The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Food Service Building

The Food Service Building on the corner of Glen and Huron streets was occupied in April, 1948. The combined building and equipment have involved a total outlay of $1,450,000. The building was constructed without the aid of appropriation by the state, the funds having been provided from a combined bond issue for residence hall refinancing and new construction.

The building serves as a centralized storage depot and processing point for food served in all University eating places except the Union. In the 1930's, when University residence hall facilities were increased, the need of a central receiving, distributing, and fabricating unit for food became apparent. As a temporary expedient the facilities of the Hospital Store, which was already providing food for the Hospital, were enlarged to service the residence halls. Further dormitory expansion after World War II overtaxed the limited Hospital facilities, and the need for the Food Service Building became imperative.

Page  1629The building is of reinforced concrete and red brick, with limestone trim, modern and attractive in appearance. Designed by Kalamazoo architects Louis C. Kingscott and Associates, it contains two floors and a basement, and the center section is designed to accommodate two additional stories when necessary. There are approximately 63,200 square feet of floor space in the building, and the over-all dimensions are approximately 120 by 220 feet.

Approximately 15,000 square feet of the total area are devoted to twenty-seven refrigerated rooms from 10 by 10 to 22 by 60 feet. The operation of these refrigerators, which are cork-lined, requires the use of nineteen large water-cooled compressors which operate at alternate intervals to assure equal wear on each unit.

The receiving entrance is at the front of the building, and the shipping dock is at the rear. The first floor contains the administrative offices, the receiving department, the bakery, the meat department, and the ice cream room. The building is equipped with a pneumatic tube system for sending messages from one floor to another and with an intercommunicating system.

The administrative offices, near the main entrance, are occupied by the manager, the food buyer representing the University Purchasing Department, the chief dietitian of the residence halls, and other staff.

The bakery, which covers an area of about 9,000 square feet, contains two refrigerated rooms for storing supplies and retaining dough temporarily. It is equipped with the most modern devices available and is designed on a production line basis so that the dough is prepared and mixed at one end, and the finished products come out of the ovens at the other end.

Across the corridor from the bakery is the meat department, which covers an area of 4,000 square feet and includes a well-equipped, modern butcher shop. Six refrigerators occupy more than half the area of this department.

At the end of the corridor is the ice cream room which occupies about 600 square feet and includes storage for flavors, a main room for the freezer, and two refrigerated rooms.

All incoming merchandise is delivered to the receiving dock. There is a platform scale for miscellaneous use as well as an overhead scale for weighing meat. Three tractor-trailers can be accommodated simultaneously. An electrically operated overhead door can be closed during inclement weather. Merchandise is unloaded from a freight car siding directly into the building. Overhead tracks for handling meat also lead into the building from the receiving dock and the freight car entrance. Meat is placed on hooks at the time of unloading and moved on these tracks directly into refrigerators near the receiving area. Mechanical lift trucks save much rehandling of canned goods, sugar, potatoes, and flour. As merchandise is unloaded both from freight cars and large trucks it is stacked directly on pallets (wooden platforms) which can be picked up, transported, and set down by the lift trucks anywhere in the building. Two heavy duty elevators, one at each end of the building, facilitate the movement of merchandise between the three floors.

The top or second floor is used entirely for storage of canned goods, paper goods, frozen fruits, flour, vegetables, and sugar. Four large refrigerators, each covering an area of 1,125 square feet, will accommodate fourteen freight car loads of frozen foods. The "flour room" is refrigerated and air conditioned.

The basement floor has further storage facilities for staples, canned goods, fresh fruits, and vegetables. It also contains Page  1630two compressor rooms, the mechanical equipment room, and the shipping department. There are, in all, twelve refrigerated rooms on this floor.

The shipping department at the rear of the building contains space for preparation of orders, an area for completed orders awaiting delivery, a storage area for trucks, and a shipping dock which will accommodate four trucks at a time. This entire area is enclosed, and two electrically operated doors can be closed during inclement weather or in non-operating periods.

Since the building was completed in 1948 much time and effort have been devoted to study of improved methods. The outstanding improvement after the building was occupied resulted from the utilization of the pallets described above. Much has been accomplished by the installation of other modern labor-saving equipment.