The El Dorado High School cafeteria will be getting a new lease on life this summer, both figuratively and literally.
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Beginning on June 2, the EDHS cafeteria remodel will include modernizing the current food prep area, converting part of the lunchroom into a food serving area and adding 5,000 square feet for a new multipurpose room.
The long, narrow rectangle of the current cafeteria will sprout two new parts — the new multipurpose room that will extend east of the cafeteria and a large, covered outdoor eating area that will extend north of the cafeteria.
The current cafeteria, with its two small dining areas and three food serving areas, will be completely reconfigured for more efficiency and brought up to current building code standards. Currently, two indoor food service areas bring students in from the same doors and the two lines wrap into each other during lunch.
“It’s very congested, the lines merge and the kids can’t get out,” said EDHS Food Service Manager Suzette Ortega.
“We don’t want kids to have to spend their entire lunch waiting in line for food,” said Dan Augino, EDUHSD director of maintenance and operations.
The outdoor food service is now just a window to the indoor food service area. The new cafeteria will have a snack bar that opens to the covered outdoor dining area.
The new design will close off the indoor perimeter dining areas to turn them into storage space and create one large food service area with a central serving space for hot foods and one for cold foods. A reach-in refrigerator will allow students to get their own beverages and then they are routed to one of three cash registers in an efficient flow of traffic. When the new multipurpose room and covered outdoor dining area are added, three times the number of students will have seating for lunch as compared with the current cafeteria.
Currently, outdoor eating areas are uncovered and during inclement weather, students often eat in covered hallways or in classrooms, another thing Augino seeks to remedy with the new construction. “Right now, you can’t really ding the kids for eating in the hallways when it rains, and we have extra work to clean the halls and classrooms; but with the new building, we can make eating in the halls and classrooms off-limits, provide a bigger, better space for them to eat inside or outdoors and save some time in cleaning up.”
The work is not expected to be completed in full until December, but the main cafeteria area, which will be modernized and reconfigured, is scheduled to be ready for students to return in August. “We will focus on the kitchen area and Carter-Kelly is phenomenal with deadlines,” said Augino. “It’s always a real team effort with the district and the contractor to make sure we’re ready for the kids.”
The cafeteria and construction area will actually be leased to Carter-Kelly Construction, the contractor doing the remodel, in a lease back program often used by schools. “This way we are working with a contractor we trust and who we have worked with in the past,” said Augino. “Carter-Kelly has a great track record with us of being on schedule and getting the work done so we are ready for students.”
Carter-Kelly Construction was part of the cafeteria design team, along with Ortega. “Having them part of the process enabled us to keep the costs down because they could tell us the most efficient way to design what we needed,” said Augino.
The multipurpose room and outdoor eating area will be built after the cafeteria remodel, while students are back in school. With a projector screen and three-part folding tables, the new multipurpose room will serve as lunch room, meeting room, banquet facility and testing facility. The only drawback appears to be that the fruitless mulberry trees providing graceful shade on the edge of the current outdoor eating area will have to go.
“I planted those trees as little sticks when I first came here 20 years ago,” said Augino.
The overall budget of the project is $2,536,300, from Measure Q funds. This total includes a $150,000 contingency, which will be spent only upon verifed unforseen additional work.
“The Measure Q funds have been a godsend,” said Augino. “We’ve spent a lot of it putting on new roofs and weatherproofing the envelope of the buildings in the district, putting in energy upgrades that will last another 20 years. It’s going to be beautiful. I can’t wait.”
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.