University of Kansas – Ekdahl Dining Center (Mrs. E’s)

Ekdahl Dining Commons “Mrs. E’s” was built 16 years ago as a food court, and is the largest residential dining center on campus. Traffic and lines were a recurring problem for Mrs. E’s, which serves five residence halls housing 2,600 students.

The $5 million renovation was a complete overhaul of the existing facility, with updated décor, contemporary finishes, enhanced menus and new service styles. We addressed the issues of circulation, inefficient use of space and equipment that was outdated and did not comply with current health codes. All materials, equipment and finishes were chosen with sustainability and durability in mind. Special attention was given to new food selections and ensuring variety and quality for today’s college students’ ever-changing palettes.

The servery needed to move 1,000 students per hour smoothly and at speeds that will not overload the facility. Eleven food concepts now provide guests with an array of options. Each new concept is a streamlined station designed for improved traffic flow and speedy service.

New concepts are geared to the tastes of today’s students, from stone hearth copper oven pizza to the colossal soup & salad bar, made to order sandwiches, ethnic dishes, comfort foods and the KYou Zone which caters to students with specific dietary needs such as gluten free, vegetarian, Kosher and Halal.

The dining room layout has been improved as well, giving students multiple options with 700 seats on three levels. Ekdahl serves approximately 1,800 meals at dinner and 3,500 meals per day. The renovation included 5,200 SF in the servery and seating areas. The demolition and completion of the project was done in two and a half months.


Location: Lawrence, KS
Opening Date: August 2013
Peak Meal Volume: 1,800


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“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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