Blue Ridge School
St. Georges, VA
Ben Hiatt, as a member of the Board of Trustee’s and Chairman of the Buildings & Grounds Committee recognized the need and impact a new dining hall would have on the campus and well-being of the students, faculty and staff of the all-boys prep school located in St. Georges, VA, just outside Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. With Mr. Hiatt’s 35-year foodservice background, he charted a plan with the assistance of the Head of School, Trip Darrin, and the Board of Trustees. As such, some 5 years later, the new 14,000 square foot dining hall opened in the spring of 2022. Ben and his role as Managing Director of The Optimum Group was able to provide support services that included participation in the development of the RFP solicitation process to retain an architect, general contractor, and kitchen equipment procurement company, as well as collaboration with the leadership of BRS. In addition, the development role of the new dining hall included assisting the project management team in directing and coordinating the effort required to design, equip, and construct the new dining hall.