A 50 -plus year tradition at West Virginia University will come to an end Wednesday, Jan. 14, when the Davis College’s Dairy Plant holds its last day of ice cream sales.
The decision to discontinue ice cream production is rooted in difficult financial realities, according to Paul Lewis, director of the Davis College’s Division of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.
“The equipment we use and our facilities date back to the 1950s and 1960s,”Lewis said.”Upgrading them is cost prohibitive at this point; we can’t make that kind of capital investment in light of other demands on our resources.”
Compounding the problem is the plant’s limited ability to set up a retail distribution system for the ice cream.
“We can’t compete in the wholesale ice cream market, and we do not have the resources or outlets to sell on a retail basis in the kind of quantities that would make it profitable or even self supporting,”Lewis said.
No jobs will be lost, Lewis added. Student workers involved in ice cream production will be reassigned to other jobs within the Division of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. The decision also means WVU ice cream will no longer be served in the residence halls, or sold at various University venues.
WVU ice cream does have a number of devoted fans, and Lewis understands the decision will be disappointing for regular customers. He noted that there is the possibility of resuming ice cream at a later date if sufficient funding can be obtained to upgrade facilities and develop retail outlets.
Hours for the last day of ice cream sales are 12:30-5:30 p.m. Jan. 14.