One World Cafe in Moscow has been busy making its world bigger and better this year.

For starters, it expanded into the former Mock Orange restaurant adjacent to the coffee shop, where it now serves food and alcohol.

Now, University of Idaho College of Art and Architecture students are finishing up sidewalk seating improvements to the Main and Sixth streets sides of the business.

Scott Lawrence, UI assistant professor of architecture, said his 22 students in his Design-Build Studio class have spent days and nights — sometimes 16-hours at a stretch — designing and constructing the steel built-in bars and wooden booths that will increase One World’s outdoor seating capacity.

“Certainly been the most work that I’ve had for architecture classes so far, but it’s definitely by far my favorite and I’m having a lot of fun,” said Riley Leighton, who is graduating this semester with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. “I think one of the biggest benefits of it is the fact that we’re actually building something physical and something that we can actually see and be proud of in the end.”

Lawrence said students did all the work, from milling lumber from logs to welding and cutting metal. They also painted the exterior ceiling and walls of One World.

The wooden benches on the Sixth Street side include wooden fold-out doors that will help block out the afternoon sun and cold wind as well as provide more privacy. Lawrence said the doors have locks so One World Cafe will be able to safely store its outdoor tables and chairs overnight.

Lawrence said he expects the improvements to wrap up today, but customers have already enjoyed the wooden benches.

“We’ll have a lot of people in the community that are going to appreciate it,” Leighton said.

One World Cafe co-owner Sara Pritchett said the outdoor improvements will better utilize space and are especially important during COVID-19 where outdoor dining is safer.

She said Lawrence reached out to the business about how his students could help the coffee shop’s expansion.

“Reaching out, we were really lucky that they were interested and willing to let all these college students crawl all over the place,” Lawrence said.

Pritchett said the coffee shop has incurred a lot of costs expanding into its new space. She said working with students and their resources as opposed to doing the project itself made the improvements attainable and affordable.

“We want to make projects that happen that couldn’t happen without our help,” Lawrence said. “That’s our primary goal.”

Pritchett said there is a large separation between the university and downtown Moscow and working with UI students was an opportunity to bridge that gap.

“The more we collaborate and work together and the more that we can create these bridges of creativity and getting the university to participate in our central business district and vice versa, the better it’s going to be,” Pritchett said.

Pritchett said she also wanted to beautify the business’s sidewalk seating because when the Hello Walk, a path planned to run through the vacant Sixth and Jackson streets property, is built, One World Cafe will be one of the first businesses students see when they exit the path.

Pritchett said the coffee shop’s new “pub side,” or the former Mock Orange space, opened this spring. It serves beer and wine as well as baked goods, breakfast burritos, sandwiches and soup among other items.

Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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