Caf to expand outdoor seating over summer

The Caf will have an expanded and protected outdoor eating area next year to combat the lack of seating.


The outdoor Caf patio will add an additional 120 seats and include plastic shields for climate control. The addition will be located just off Sutherland Way. | Hannah Caprara/THE CHIMES

Katie Nelson and Katie Nelson

The outdoor Caf patio will add an additional 120 seats and include plastic shields for climate control. The addition will be located just off Sutherland Way. | Hannah Caprara/THE CHIMES


For students who are tired of playing musical chairs in the Caf everytime it rains, Biola Auxiliary Services has a solution. Beginning next semester, the Caf will have expanded seating in the form of an outdoor covered area. The idea was first brought to light publicly at the Donuts with DBC event, at which president Barry Corey announced the upcoming changes to the student body.

New seating to feature heaters and covered deck

The Caf expansion will involve building an open-air seating space in front of the side windows where a small patch of lawn currently grows. While the lawn will be taken out to make room for seating, the large trees that stand outside the Caf will be preserved and incorporated into the project. The space will adjoin the existing outdoor patio where many students eat. 

“We are going to add to the deck and a large portion of it is going to be covered,” said Don Sims, senior director of auxiliary services, who is in charge of the project. He says the additional deck will create about 120 more seats and will cost $700,000 to complete.

The lack of seating at the Caf is especially problematic during times of inclement weather because the students who normally eat outside are forced to sit inside, according to Sims.

“When it rains, things get really tight,” Sims said. “I’ve started us down a path to figure out how to fix that.”

Sims says the new area will feature plastic, motorized rain shields that will be lowered during rainy days. Heaters and fans will be included in the construction, as well as skylights in the ceiling.

Renovation estimated to be complete by rainy season

Work on the project has already commenced, Sims said, noting that the building plans were recently approved and he was given the go-ahead to begin construction. When asked about an  expected completion date, he could not give a definitive answer, but says the goal is to be finished by the time the rainy season hits during the fall semester.

Cost is a large factor in deciding what the building is going to look like when it is finished. Sims emphasized that student tuition dollars will not be going toward this project, but that the fees they pay for housing and dining do contribute to the process. The price for the new Caf addition includes all aspects, such as construction costs, furniture, heating and more.

Senior journalism major Amanda Tegtmeier, who is the Associated Students Social Board chair, believes the project to be beneficial to the students who regularly eat at the Caf.

“I think it sounds awesome — I’m sad I won’t be there to see it,” Tegtmeier said.

Eric Waschak, a sophomore business major, echoed Tegtmeier’s sentiments about the expanded seating arrangements.

“I really only ever sit outside [at the Caf],” he said. “So I’m all for more seating.”

Sims is confident that students, staff and visitors who eat at the Caf will enjoy and appreciate the changes being made.

“They’re going to have more seats and [they] will be covered,” he said. “This will be a popular place.”

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