Published on September 19, 2023  
New Caf Sitting Area

Samford University has completed a 20,000 square foot renovation to its largest dining area, known as the Caf. Housed in the Ralph W. Beeson University Center, the Caf underwent a $10 million transformation this summer. The project included a total renovation of the entire dining area, the Howard room and two restrooms. New kitchen and beverage stations were also added and a new dish washing room with an automated dish system was added.

“We have recreated the dining experience at Samford,” said Jeff Poleshek, assistant vice president for operations, planning and construction. “It is really now a food hall—a place and space where people can gather and enjoy each other’s time and company.”

Two Female Students In The New-Caf

“We now have an open concept that will increase the opportunity for students and employees to have a space for fellowship, without having to swipe in to enter,” said Wade Walker, director of business services. “The space is meant to be more than just a place to eat. There are several televisions to entertain as well as big screen projector system. We plan to utilize the projector for Samford Athletic events as well as any other event that could benefit from a ‘watch party.’”

Another station, called True Balance Allergen Solutions Station, offers innovative meals without nine of the most common food allergens: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, soy, sesame, fish, wheat and shellfish. Gluten containing ingredients like barley and rye ingredients are also eliminated for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Food Station Redesign

James Jefferson, a junior and president of the Student Government Association, says students are thrilled with the updated Caf. In a recent survey asking students what they thought of the renovation, one student wrote: “It’s modern, but true to Samford. It’s big enough not where I feel as if I’m not missing out on a ‘caf experience,’ like being at a major state school, but it’s small enough to where I feel as if I can still make lasting and meaningful connections.”

The renovation coincided with the partnership with Aramark as the university’s new food services provider.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.