Client US Department of the Air Force

Ellsworth AFB - Dining Hall Renovation

Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota

The design intent for the renovation of the "Bandit Inn" was to create a durable interior space that would last another 25 years while maintaining the ‘prairie modern' style of the existing facility. The program includes the reorganization of the serving line area, development of staff office areas, designing the entire facility for accessibility, creation of an interior storage room, refurbished restrooms, HVAC upgrades, modifications to meet current anti-terrorism/force protection standards, and the replacement of interior finishes due to major mechanical and plumbing work to create a fresh image for the facility. Interior finishes of the dining area consisted of carpet floor tiles, vinyl wall coverings and acoustical ceiling tiles. Our team developed a separate FF&E package that includes new tables, chairs and booths and provides the flexibility for multiple seating configurations. The kitchen area incorporates washable lay-in ceiling tile as well as millwork and serving line casework made of durable solid surface and stainless steel finishes.

Multiple high efficiency gas-fired boilers and a new larger air-cooled chiller were added to handle the heating and cooling needs for the entire building. Energy usage will be a minimum of 30% below that allowed by ASHRAE 90.1-2004. All plumbing fixtures are low flow or low consumption models. The gas service was upgraded to accommodate future replacement of electrical kitchen equipment with gas equipment. A fully automatic wet-pipe sprinkler system is designed in accordance with NFPA 2007 and the UFC 3-600-01. Electrical improvements include a new fire alarm and mass notification system and new high efficiency lighting fixtures throughout along with occupancy sensors, dimmers, and automatic controls.

At a glance

16,500 SF


Multiple sustainable design features


Site Investigation


Design Charrette

Concept Design through Final Design for Design/Bid/Build Contract

Site/Utility Design

Architecture Design

Comprehensive Interior Design (SID and FF&E)

Landscape Architecture

Engineering: Civil, Structural, Mechanical and Electrical

Sustainable Design

Force Protection

Fire Protection

“Design was accomplished within a tight schedule. All research and data collection required for the design was done without interruption to the client’s operation.”


Energy usage is 30% below that allowed by ASHRAE 90.1-2004


The organization and circulation pattern in the food service line was out-of-date and didn’t account for current needs. The team conducted a design charrette with members of the foodservice staff and other Base representatives to identify current needs related specifically to the circulation and organization of the food serving area. The resulting design creates a separate entrance and exit to the food serving area, which improves customer flow significantly. The organization of the various food options was enhanced as well by placing salads and packaged cold items near the entrance with warm selections, beverages and other items prone to tipping off of the tray near the end of the line. This arrangement keeps hot food at its optimum temperature and reduces spills and breakage of more cumbersome items by limiting their time on customers trays. Additionally, cutlery, napkins and condiments were moved from the food service area out into the dining space preventing diners from re-entering the service area to retrieve these items and causing circulation issues.

25 years

We were challenged to create a durable interior space that would last another 25 years while maintaining the ‘prairie modern' style.