The Loft, one of the main dining facilities on campus, had not been remodeled since USI was established in 1974. It was dark, outdated and visually closed off from the active student life. Since it is an important part of university life and seen by prospective students during campus tours, the space needed to be refreshed. Hafer was hired to design an environment similar to a high-end, contemporary restaurant.
Designing The Loft consisted of completely gutting the existing space to add more seating and updated foodservice equipment. Three distinct dining areas are now offered which include a full-service bakery, large salad bar and buffet lines, and made-to-order foods hot off the grill. The design features custom casework in the serving area, sleek large tile patterns on the floors and walls, and bold wall coverings. Throughout, there are bright colors with more openness, natural daylight, and seating choices.
Students now enjoy using this space for not only dining, but studying, meeting with clubs, and hanging out with friends. The Loft now represents the culture of USI, assists with student recruitment efforts, and reflects the contemporary image of the campus. Since the renovation, The Loft has experienced a significant increase in sales contributing to an economic boost to the University.