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2014 Facility Design Project of the Year: Special Recognition: The Culinary and Conference Center at Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis, Ind.

Students have an opportunity to learn their trade on state-of-the-art equipment situated on two tower floors and in a penthouse suite.

Ivy-Tech-kitchenThe cooking suite sits under an energy-efficient hood. The labs also feature versatile refrigerated drawers. Photos by Maya Lavent

Goals Set and Met

  • The project was intended to provide Ivy Tech with an updated facility that had enough space to accommodate a growing student enrollment.
  • One key objective was to ensure the conference center and the culinary school would coexist in the Ivy Tech building and complement one another so the facility could help elevate the perception of Ivy Tech and a community college education.
  • Another goal was to create a bakery café on the entry level that would feature food products from the culinary school.
  • The development of a fine-dining restaurant on the top floor was intended to provide beautiful views of the city and the working kitchen.
  • The inclusive process provided all parties with a sense of ownership.

Ivy-Tech-Meat-LabThe meat fab lab offers clear sight lines throughout. The openness and use of monitors support student learning. Staff program versatile refrigerated tables with drawers for refrigeration, shock freezing or blast chilling, which allows flexibility in the curriculum. The lab also contains combi ovens and a blast chiller.

Worth Mentioning:The Judges' Comments

  • This project had an excellent mission for a community college, to work within a neighborhood and build this school.
  • This project provides a good example of how to take a concept and apply out-of-the-box thinking to create
  • solutions. This is indicative of the great collaboration among all the parties involved in the project.
  • The design features clean and nice touches such as the use of butcher blocks on the posts. This is a very artistic design that was accomplished within difficult deadlines. The streamlined layout features stations that are efficient but not excessive or over the top.
  • The budget was applied effectively. For example, the design makes practical use of refrigerated tables versus refrigerated rooms in the space and a very efficient
  • placement of the warewashing area.
  • The procurement strategy conservatively saved the school more than $500,000. The savings came without compromise on the quality of the equipment provided and without reduction in the scope of the project.

 Project Design Features

  • The team faced two main design challenges: repurposing an old Stouffers Hotel and an aggressive design and construction schedule.
  • The 7,650-sq.-ft. building now houses Ivy Tech's central region culinary program; the corporate college; and the conference center, with multiple rooms and a catering operation run by Sodexo that can serve up to 1,200 people in a plated-meal banquet setting.
  • The first floor contains Courses Bakery and Café, a retail bakery operation; a meat fabrication lab; a bakery and breads lab; an inventory center; the waste reduction system; and the catering operation for the conference center. The second floor contains culinary labs featuring high-end cooking suites; a chocolate room; an advanced bakery lab; and a garde manger area with a humidity-controlled walk-in for drying meats. The 13th floor contains Courses, a full-service restaurant and bar and the president's conference room.
  • The full-service restaurant seats up to 130 at tables and 30 at the bar. The bakery café seats 45. The facility also features a conference room that can accommodate up to 500 people and a second-floor ballroom with a capacity of 250 people.
  • The facility requires a unique flow of product; food must be available to 6 labs, 2 retail outlets and the catering kitchen that serves different floors of the 13-floor building. Because visitors can look into the labs, the design nicely differentiates between the public areas and service corridors and elevator.
  • Different sizes and types of storage vessels must be in place to accommodate the various needs of the classes taught in each lab.
  • Load-bearing walls, placement of elevators and the need to preserve the historical value of specific spaces played a role in how an efficient flow was mapped out. A common food product storage space where all deliveries are received and stored addressed flow and corridor traffic. The inventory control manager is located in this room and receives and distributes all food. LEED Silver-certification features were incorporated as well.

Key Players

  • Owner: Ivy Tech Community College
  • Chancellor: Kathy Lee
  • President: Thomas Snyder
  • Program Chair: Jeffery Alan Bricker, CEC, CCE, AAC
  • Facility Planning Committee: Lauri Griffin, CEC, associate professor; Thom England, CEC, CCE, culinary instructor; Paul Vida, CEPC, CCE, baking and pastry arts instructor (also lead for bakery); and Keith Parish, MBA, hospitality management faculty manager (also runs the front of house)
  • Architect and Interior Design: Schmidt Associates, Indianapolis; Kevin Shelley, AIA, LEED AP, principal and project lead
  • Executive Chef: Allen Edwards
  • Foodservice Design Consultant: Reitano Design Group, formerly Foodservice Solution Group; Scott Reitano,
  • principal in charge; Jim Kessenich, project designer
  • General Contractor: Shiel Sexton, Indianapolis
  • Equipment Dealer: Stafford-Smith, Indianapolis office; Adam Schut, project manager; John Russell, lead installer, and Norman Marshall, project closeout

Q&A with Jeffrey Alan Bricker, Program Chair at Ivy Tec

FE&S: Since the culinary/dining program opened, what has the response been? What is enrollment, and what do you expect for the coming year?

JAB: Program enrollment has grown from 750 to 1,060 since we moved into the remodeled facility in August of 2012. Courses Restaurant has grown in popularity since its opening as well and was recognized as “Best Restaurant with View of the City” by Indianapolis Monthly magazine and awarded “Best Ambiance” by Open Table. We anticipate continued program growth in reaching our goal of 1,500 enrolled students in the next three years.

FE&S: What is your advice to others embarking on such a design adventure?

JAB: Seek an experienced kitchen design consultant for the planning phase of the project — one who will engage the faculty in the planning process to make sure the facility is truly designed to be a successful learning environment that fits the curriculum and the culture of the faculty. We were fortunate in working with the Reitano Design Group because they took the time to listen to our faculty team and worked with us to make sure our facility was a good fit for our program. Having a voice in the design of the facility was the most important element of our expansion plan. We were fortunate to have administrative support from our institution in making that possible and even more fortunate to have community support with the gift from the Lilly Endowment, which made the project possible.

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