By Senior Airman
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE - With repairs coming to a conclusion, the Dakota Inn Dining Facility underwent a transformation in appearance as well as operations.
The dining facility's restoration was a $56,000 project that took place over a three-month period last summer. During this time, the Dakota Inn closed. As a result, this left all meal-card customers to receive basic allowance for sustenance and the flight kitchen to open for cash customers.
Typically, the Dakota Inn serves as the main dining facility, open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a midnight meal. The Flyby Inn, commonly referred to as the flight kitchen, is normally open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch. However, the flight kitchen compensated for the dining facility's closure by adjusting their work schedule to the Dakota Inn's. Most of the dining facilities' airmen and contractors were also transferred to the flight kitchen to help with the surplus of customers due to the closure.
Since the October 2009 reopening of the Dakota Inn, customer numbers have elevated to more than 1,000 customers a week.
"That's an almost 50 percent monthly headcount increase!" said 1st Lt. Sidonya Fulton, 5th Force Support Squadron food operations officer.
During the three recent Prairie Vigilance exercises, customer numbers have more than doubled.
"The latest Prairie Vigilance exercise 10-4 had a final attendance tally at over 650 customers," Fulton said.
Also, due to the fact the 5th Force Support Squadron personnel typically deploy around 50 percent of their airmen, operations management is sure to face a change of pace. However, Fulton ensures food operations across base will continue to maintain service standards.
"Customers can expect to see contracted personnel on the serving line due to the deployment tasking for services personnel," Fulton said.
While the Dakota Inn was closed, the walls around the serving line and at the cashier area of the Dakota Inn were repainted. Maintenance on the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system was completed, and provided a new heating and cooling system for the entire facility. Self-help projects were also finished in the offices, installing tile floors and new furniture, as well as painting the walls and cleaning the entire building. Repairs to the roof were also completed, fixing all of the leaks.
With the high level of professionalism and commitment from all the members of the Team Minot family employed on a daily basis, the dining facility repairs were completed ahead of schedule.
The cooks at the dining facility said the closure allowed for a much-needed change; a change that will bring more comfort to both customers and personnel. The complete restoration of the Dakota Inn is a high-efficiency energy and money saving project that will produce excellent environmental standards for Minot AFB.