American Seating

Johnson & Wales


Cachet® Swing-Away, Tables with Modesty Panel and Power


10 Classrooms


Johnson & Wales University, Denver, Colorado campus


Download a PDF of this case study

Project Overview

Johnson & Wales University expanded their campus in 2001 after purchasing a facility in Denver, Colorado. The facility’s classrooms contained American Seating fixed seating solutions originally installed in 1984. The seats, after nearly two decades of use, were no longer suited for the environment. Kayce O’Brien, Senior Project Manager at JWU, envisioned a solution that was more modern, yet still comfortable, durable, and able to support the growing school’s needs.

O’Brien was introduced to American Seating during the initial phases of planning. The American Seating sales representative presented six different seating samples that would be installed in classrooms and tested by students and faculty during the selection process. Competing against competitor’s products, American Seating’s Cachet Swing-Away was highly favored amongst users. “We were really excited when the students chose the Cachet Swing-Away,” O’Brien explains. “It was one that I really liked for a variety of reasons. It was at the right price-point, we wanted to get value out of the product, and what really stood out for me was that American Seating is known for University environments; they understand ‘wear-and-tear.’ And the product is American-Made,” she adds.

Over the course of two years, ten classrooms were renovated and retrofitted with a solution that could accommodate modern classrooms and a variety of teaching styles.


After studying the environment, American Seating quickly learned that this required a collaborative design effort in order to develop a solution that would leave Johnson and Wales pleased. The classrooms at the school were over twenty years old at the time the renovation started, and the building had settled, leaving an uneven environment to work within. Additionally, the classrooms were originally designed to accommodate 70 to150 fixed auditorium seats installed on a curved and tiered floor, typical for an auditorium application, but not necessarily fixed lecture tables and chairs. The project specified swing-away fixed seating for classrooms for 40 to 100, which would require more space in some classrooms, and less in others as the new chairs were a completely different size and type than the previous solution.


American Seating is experienced in retrofitting existing environments, as well as providing solutions for new environments. Eager to tackle the project, the American Seating Project Manager and team of engineers designed a layout that would fill in larger classrooms, and fit within the tighter environments. The seat layout was specific to the tiered floor and curved rows. Modesty panels were added to the swing-away installations to allow for a professional environment for both the students seated and the instructor at the front of the classroom.

From providing multiple options, to identifying a comfortable and durable seating solution, designing the layout of the classrooms, and operating a smooth installation, American Seating was a great fit for Johnson and Wales. “American Seating had incredible communication: from when to order, to when to install—it was a very fluid project,” O’Brien interjects. “It was their determination to satisfy the client that resulted in an incredibly well received finished product.”


Twice a year, JWU surveys students and faculty. After the renovation was complete, the newly renovated classrooms were rated to be one of the best. “The true test of a successful project such as this is the reaction of the students and faculty. I must tell you that the operations Department has not stopped receiving compliments on the newly remodeled classrooms,” exclaims O’Brien.