Posted by on Sep 26, 2016

Grand Valley State University
Allendale, MI

GVSU’s original “cafeteria” was built more than 40 years ago and is still the largest food service facility on campus. It feeds a lot of people but needed to respond to the changing campus and its customers. More seating capacity at Fresh Food Co. and upgraded finishes meant planning for a 2016 summer remodel.

r.o.i. Design, who also designed the GVSU Laker Store in 2014 and its adjacent food court, was engaged by the University through Preferred Construction to create the design.

Einstein Bros. Bagels was moved out to a different location giving the Commons a fourth dining room.

The design team, which included Campus Dining, GVSU Facilities, Preferred Construction and r.o.i. Design, looked at the trends in college dining and the recent building projects on campus along with their customer’s preferences to create a design criteria that could be executed within the budget and timeline.

“GVSU has more than 25,000 students and commensurate staff, so a lot of food service customers who have a variety of preferences. In order to create options in dining, it was agreed that the four rooms would each have a unique feeling so guests could have different experiences within the same facility. We agreed to organize the room designs around four ideas, one per room: water, earth, fire and wind,” says Mary Witte, President of r.o.i. Design. “The dining rooms already had some features that lent themselves to these notions, so we were able to build on what was already there and create something intentional and fun.”

Each room received new flooring, new lighting, new millwork features, new paint accents and new furnishings that aligned with the “theme” of the room.

“Community Tables” were added to allow for larger groups to gather. Custom lighting enhanced the distinct look of each room.

The food line was enhanced with new equipment to allow Campus Dining the option to offer more variety in their menu.

r.o.i. Design’s initial observations of customer’s response to the remodel has been very satisfying and we are proud that our design contributions met the goals of the Fresh Food Co. at The Commons at GVSU.