News Blog

C of I dining hall gets $1.5 million upgrade

Students eating at The College of Idaho will return to a more pleasing dining experience this fall, following completion of a $1.5 million project upgrading Simplot Dining Hall.

Matt Caldwell, general manager of C of I’s food service provider Bon Appétit, said the renovations significantly enhance the kitchen and serving areas of Simplot Dining Hall. Images of the renovated Simplot Dining Hall can be viewed on the College Flickr site.

“We take pride in creating made-from-scratch meals for the students here at The College of Idaho,” Caldwell said. “This renovation will help us take the quality of our meals to an even higher level and provide a more modern kitchen and servery for our culinary staff to work in. We look forward to giving C of I students more options for seeing their food made right in front of them.”

C of I President Marv Henberg said the project will add to an already strong campus community.

“We build relationships by sharing meals together with our fellow classmates, faculty and staff members as well as campus guests,” Henberg said. “With the healthful and environmentally sustainable meals that Bon Appétit prepares, this project promotes a sound body, a sound mind and a sound planet.”

The renovation project that started at the end of the spring semester includes a number of improvements that will benefit both C of I students and a variety of community organizations that hold events in Simplot Dining Hall:

  • Remodeling of the servery area with new equipment, including a brick oven for making pizzas, calzones and other dishes, as well as a modified layout for improved flow through and servery and more attractive decorative accents.
  • New, energy efficient lighting in both the kitchen and the servery that will provide those areas with a brighter, more inviting ambiance.
  • New kitchen equipment.
  • Heating and cooling upgrades will provide for significant energy savings, a more comfortable work environment for Bon Appétit staff, and lower maintenance time, freeing the College’s facilities staff to devote more time to other campus projects.
  • Replacement of the kitchen and servery floor and upgrades to the plumbing systems.
  • Installation of washable ceiling tiles and walls to increase the efficiency of the cleaning process.
  • Repainting of Simplot’s north dining hall, the main seating area for C of I students.
  • Remodeling of the hall’s Hendren Room, including a new floor, ceiling, paint and fixtures.

Simplot Dining Hall was built in 1948 with the support of long-time College of Idaho trustee and honorary alumnus J.R. Simplot. Since then the College’s main cafeteria has been added onto and remodeled, most recently in the mid-1990s. 

Kyle Abrahamson, director of maintenance and operations, is pleased that the project incorporates a number of energy efficient components while also ensuring students have an attractive place to gather for food and conversation.

The renovation work will be completed in early August in time for the start of the new academic year at the end of the month.  The project architect is Hummel and Kreizenbeck Construction has served as the general contractor.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit