Ohio University – Nelson Commons

Nelson Commons underwent vibrant renovations to transform the existing space into a unique residential dining experience for students, staff, and faculty that embodies variety, convenience, and freshness. The renovations are a part of a larger capital master plan that looks to elevate the student dining experience. The facility will also enrich the experience for all customers and helps strengthen Ohio University’s prominence in recruitment and retention.

Our team worked with the Culinary, Auxiliaries and Design & Construction departments for over a year on the final project design. This included benchmarking project features, concepts and designs through site visits to peer institutions leading the way in today’s trends in residential dining and food service.

The residential dining features a concept-based approach with four new stations, offering a variety of selections, display cooking, sides, beverages and desserts. Asian fusion, all-day breakfast, BBQ, Mediterranean cuisine, and an extensive salad bar are featured. A Campus Market and the South Side Espresso Bar are located next to the dining area, with seating capacity for more than 800 guests.

The renovation also benefits from the culinary support kitchen renovation at its central food facility. A variety of new fresh products and menu items come from the support kitchen to be finished for guests at one of the main stations. This includes a new barbeque concept that offer meats from the support kitchen’s new smoker.

The total 15,250 SF area includes the 800 SF café, 4,165 SF retail, 4,800 SF kitchen and 5,485 servery.


Location: Athens, OH
Opening Date: August 2012
Estimated Equipment Cost: $2,415,115
Peak Meal Volume: 1,800-1,900
Project Size: 15,250 SF
Café: 800 SF
Retail: 4,165 SF
Kitchen: 4,800 SF
Servery: 5,485 SF


Retail Marketplace
Convenience Store
Espresso Bar

“frk has had the good fortune to with Rippe Associates for more than 20 years on many projects together. Our focus is the K-12 market and we have always appreciated the deep knowledge base, attention to detail, and extensive experience the team at Rippe Associate provides for educational design. We have also greatly valued the professional, yet personal approach, their designers take with our clients. When working with Rippe, we are always confident the project will be a success!”

Thomas C. Wollan, AIA, LEED AP

Partner at frk architects + engineers

“When it comes to dietary planning, Rippe is always first on my list when team building. They have a strong understanding of all the issues, are creative problem solvers, and are consistent with their execution.”

Daniel J. Rectenwald, AIA, ACHA, NCARB

Vice President, Principal at HGA

"The development of Elmhurst Hospital’s replacement campus was complex. The Rippe team supported our vision to transform healthcare foodservice. The result was exceptional reviews from our patients and staff, along with a facility that supported efficient operations."

David E. Reeves

Past President of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF)

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