A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh Air

Great Spaces looks at new and recently onsite facilities whose design demonstrates unusual flair, innovation or efficiencies.

Bates Dining Commons
Bates College
Lewiston, ME

Great Spaces looks at new and recently renovated onsite facilities whose design demonstrates unusual flair, innovation or efficiencies.

Segment: College/University
Enrollment: 1,700
Seating: 950
Area: 60,000 sq.ft.
Hours: 7:00 am (8 am on Sun.) -10:30 am?(breakfast), 10:30 am - 2:30 pm (lunch/Sunday brunch), 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm (8 pm on Fri. and Sat.) (dinner)

Very Green: Part of the first phase of a campus facilities master plan, the new Commons has been designed to be environmentally responsible, energy efficient, sustainable and recycling-intense. Air-conditioning is limited to the production kitchen, which also receives plenty of natural light from east-facing windows.

Elsewhere, the windows open as part of an elaborate “natural air-conditioning” system that draws fresh air in from outside on warm days while venting warmer inner air out through a central airshaft, similar to a chimney draw. Electric fans can aid the process on exceptionally hot days, while the warm air can also be recirculated back into the building on cold days, reducing heating costs.

Salvaged building materials were used where practical in the construction of the facility, including wood trim on the ceiling that was reclaimed from the former Thomas Edison Factory in New London, WI.

There are also several stations where students can pre-sort containers for recycling. A dedicated recycling room is reserved for rinsing, weighing and packaging waste, which is picked up in a dedicated service bay. The comprehensive solid waste recycling program in the building sends pre-consumer food waste to be composted by locals farmers. Post-consumer waste goes to a local pig farmer, leaving such a minimal amount that the facility requires no trash compactor/dumpster.

Servery: The modern servery features free-flowing lines, multiple serving stations offering freshly made dishes and a soaring vertical space overlooked by a 3,200-sq.ft. mezzanine. The servery is anchored by a central, circular station featuring an elaborate brick oven topped with a striking neon accent light. The multi-story lounge areas feature a fireplace, sofas and easy chairs for a “living room” feel.

Food Stations: Vegan Bar, Deli, Brick Oven, Pasta Bar, Euro Station, Grill, Bakery. Note: for the breakfast daypart, only the Grill, Bakery, Deli (serving hot cereals) and a waffle bar are open.

Budget: $30 million
Design/Construction: Sasaki Associates, Inc. (design); Consigli Construction Co. (construction)
Opened: February 2008