University of North Dakota – Wilkerson Commons

This project involved a complete renovation of an antiquated two-level residence hall dining center plus addition of 20,900 square feet. This expansion accommodates a 425-seat main dining area with chef’s table and a smaller reservable dining room that seats 120. The upper level also includes a new culinary support center featuring cook/chill production and an 8-concept serving area with contemporary food-themed platforms. The lower level contains a large open gaming/gathering studying area, performance space, meeting rooms, residence life service center, computer labs, coffee shop, and a convenience store.

One of the challenges facing the design team was to enhance the perception of food at Wilkerson Hall which was previously seen as not equal to other venues on campus. The foodservice design needed to be impactful enough to change the students’ minds. This was accomplished with display cooking at each station and by giving each individual food station its own identity based on the menu items being served.

Another challenge was that, given the significant investment, the university wanted to maximize flexibility of spaces to provide a variety of functions beyond dining. One of the ways this was accomplished was by designing parts of the building, such as the kitchen and serving area, to be shut down at certain times while other areas, such as seating, could remain open. The stone hearth pizza concept in the main serving area was designed to support this flexible use by incorporating an after-hours serving window that faces the dining room.

DETAILS

Location: Grand Forks, ND
Opening Date: September 2015
Estimated Equipment Cost: $4,054,081
Peak Meal Volume: 1,600
Project Size: 45,400 SF

SCOPE

Foodservice Renovation
Expansion

“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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