Orange Room opens safe after flood

Officials in charge of the Orange Room said the diner is operating in compliance with all of its inspections and that students who regularly stop in for lunch should not be worried about a flood incident that occurred Tuesday.

Terry L. Woodard, general manager of dining services, in an e-mail said the Orange Room did not open for business on March 20 until 2 p.m. because of a water drain and grease trap backup in the food prep area.

Several students arrived for lunch on the day in question and were turned away by Orange Room workers.

Stephanie Marie Edwards, 19, a first-year pharmacy candidate from Phoenix, said she was turned away at 1 p.m. and decided to go to the University café for lunch.

The situation inside the Orange Room was serious enough that it warded calling Womble’s Septic Tank Service to pump fluids from pipes beneath the building.

“Between the grease trap and the water back flow tank, roughly 15 gallons (of waste materials were removed from the facility),” Woodard said. It cost the University $300 to rectify the situation.

Andrew Jackson, a worker with Womble’s said, “The grease trap had not been pumped out in a long time.” Woodard said the trap was last emptied in December 2006.

When asked if students should be concerned with dining in the Orange Room, Woodard said, “No. The Orange Room has passed all its inspections by the Leon County Health Department, the National Sanitation Foundation and Sodexho’s own monthly food and sanitation audit.” Another student, Hanai Cole, 18, from Miramar, said she was upset because workers inside the diner would not give her a reason why the daily lunch spot was closed. She said, “(Workers) told me they were not sure if they were going to reopen.”

In the event the students have future problems with the Orange Room, Woodard said he is the authority responsible for campus dining services operations. If he cannot be reached he urges students to speak with Michael Smith, director of business and auxiliary services.

Woodard said he formally apologizes for students’ mealtime being interrupted Tuesday. He said, “On behalf of all the employees in dining service, we deeply apologize for having to close the Orange Room because of the flooding.”

Woodard also said he realizes the Orange Room is “a place where students can meet, greet and get great food, and we wish they will continue to do so.” 

As for the flood situation he said, “We also realize that some things happen within day-to-day operations that are completely out of our control, but we work diligently to implement our corrective actions.”

Woodard said the flood incident was unforeseeable.

“Therefore the possibility is always there for this type of incident to happen,” he said.  “The important action is that we take the necessary steps to correct the problem as we did with this one.”