Kath Williams + Associates Projects

Miller Dining Commons, Montana State University

Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana
LEED Silver - 2017
Owner:State of Montana
Architecture and Engineering Division
Developer:Montana State University
Auxiliary Services
Builder:Swank Enterprises
Valier, Montana
Architect:Nelson Architects
HVAC Engineer:Morrison-Mairle
Bozeman, Montana
Energy Modeler:MSU Integrated Design Lab
Bozeman, Montana
Commissioning Agent:Elkhorn Commissioning
Bozeman, Montana
LEED AP:Nelson Architects
Senior LEED AP:Kath Williams

Interior photo by Nelson Architects, Great Falls, Montana

Miller Dining Commons was recently remodeled and modernized. It is now the hub of dining and congregation near the central dorm area of Montana State University campus. The remodel has changed the way meals are prepared and served on campus and is often an attraction for community members throughout Bozema.

Food is prepared in open kitchens rather than behind closed walls. Completed for the Fall 2015 semester opening, the dining hall is now the model for upcoming projects on this 16,000-student campus.

Location, location, location. This project is not just the center, but the heart of Montana State University's residential complex and the storage/office center for all of MSU Food Service.  Dining has become an integral part of campus life and the overall college experience. The renovation and expansion of Miller Dining Commons has taken years of planning and construction along with the development of a repertoire of various cuisines, cooking styles, and flavors.

Sustainability was important but the first challenge was to develop year-round, sustainable meals options in a cold climate. Second challenge was to take a large, round existing structure and infuse a comfortable atmosphere to meet friends, eat, study, and simply relax. The third challenge was to meet a diverse set of goals. As stated on their website: "University Food Service strives to provide the highest quality food, service, and presentation while maintaining variety and flexibility. offer well balanced meals with wholesome ingredients including gluten-free, vegetarian, and lite options. create a welcoming atmosphere. continue commitment to keeping up with current dining trends. embrace social, nutritional and financial responsibilities."

Through an integrated design process, input was taken from chefs and user groups, community patrons who wanted access and need parking (there is none), and a variety of residential dining experts, including parents. Spending the time to bring all of these together paid off in an outstanding, award-winning design that meets the goals and is a major upgrade that showcases the forward-thinking of the campus leadership  

This project was paid for entirely by student funds.