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Renovation backlog in the canteens of the Studentenwerk SH

Das Bild zeigt das Gebäude der Mensa Lübeck
The canteen in Lübeck ran in emergency mode from 2020 to 2023.

For a few years now, we've been saying "watch out" when it comes to our university catering. Be it because we have to temporarily close canteens or cafeterias, reduce seating capacity or serve our meals on disposable crockery. This is due to recurring technical defects or other shortcomings in our catering facilities.

The Studentenwerk SH runs ten canteens, eight cafeterias and five café lounges in Schleswig-Holstein. However, the buildings do not belong to us, but to the respective universities or the state of Schleswig-Holstein, and are only leased to us for use. They are managed on behalf of the state by Gebäudemanagement Schleswig-Holstein (GM.SH).

The majority of these buildings are over thirty to forty years old and have never been extensively refurbished. Some of the equipment available to the teams on site is no longer state of the art, is not designed for our guest numbers and has been running at over capacity for many years. It is therefore obvious that breakdowns or problems are now occurring more and more frequently.
Two examples: The dishwasher in canteen I in Kiel is around thirty years old and still runs on steam. If such old machines break down, as was the case at the beginning of the year, it is not only difficult to procure new spare parts. In some cases, there are no longer any specialised companies that can repair these machines.
At the end of 2020, we were ordered to reduce the number of seats in the Lübeck canteen for fire safety reasons. The canteen therefore ran for months in emergency mode with 199 instead of 450 seats. We were only able to reopen in full operation after the refurbishment was completed in October 2023.

The state is currently providing around 850,000 euros for refurbishment measures in catering establishments. The budget makes it possible to initiate initial measures. However, it only covers a fraction. The state of Schleswig-Holstein must provide more money for more extensive projects. To illustrate this:

  • Combi steamers: between 12,500 euros and 24,500 euros (depending on size)
  • Cooking kettle with tilting and stirring device, 150 litres: 35,600 euros
  • Multifunctional kitchen appliance (for cooking, frying, deep-frying), 150 litres: 30,300 euros
  • Grease separator: 70,000 euros
  • Dishwasher for canteen I: 250,000 euros
  • Complete refurbishment of the scullery in the Lübeck canteen: around one million euros.
In einer großen moderneingerichteten Mensen stehen und sitzen junge Menschen.
The refurbishment is intended to make Mensa I in Kiel more appealing and modern. Photo: Baumschlager Eberle Architekten Berlin

As a student union, we do not believe it makes sense to always just replace the faulty technology in the canteens. Above all, the concepts of the canteens must be revised and the refurbishments then carried out on the basis of these concepts. Conceptual designs have already been commissioned for four canteens in order to work out what the canteens should look like in the future. This is complex and takes time. Above all, the implementation of these extensive refurbishments is cost-intensive.
Good news for the Kiel site: Canteen I will definitely be refurbished. The state of Schleswig-Holstein has approved the funds for this. Work will start at the end of next year. The work will be carried out gradually during ongoing operations. We currently anticipate completion in mid-2027.

In order to better tackle the refurbishment backlog, the Studentenwerk SH has established a dedicated staff unit whose employees are exclusively responsible for providing technical support for the necessary modernisation work. In addition, quarterly meetings are held for all properties with all parties involved in order to identify needs in the facilities and initiate the necessary steps so that the backlog of measures does not continue to grow.

Let me help you!

Contact person

Torsten Schmidt
Torsten Schmidt
Department of Building, Technology and Redevelopment - University Catering
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+49 431 8816-0
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