“There is much more room,” “lines are faster” and “we don’t feel as rushed” were some of the comments made by students at Wawasee High School concerning the new cafeteria. Ready for use the first day of classes Aug. 14, the cafeteria was designed to seat a maximum of 500 students.
Beginning in October of last year, the old industrial arts area was gutted and transformed into a spacious and brighter cafeteria with windows and chairs for students to sit in, not the small round stools used in previous years.
Don Harman, WHS principal, noted what is now the commons area was used previously for students to eat in but was simply not large enough. Some students would end up using the auditorium surge area or the brickyard to eat lunch.
Food serving lines move quicker and all students can be fed in two lunch periods now, Harman said. “The difference is night and day compared to what we had before,” he said.
Round and square tables are each used in the lunch room. White walls, LED lighting and large windows combine for a much brighter appearance.
The room can be used for more than just an eating area. On the east end is a projector that can be lowered. Likely the room will be used for banquets, programs or meetings, Harman said. “We can also bring out a small stage area (at the east end),” he added.
The process of serving hundreds of students won’t be completely smooth for a few more weeks. The kitchen is being renovated and is scheduled to be finished by mid-September. Until then, food is being prepared in the new culinary arts classroom. Paper plates are being used because the dish washing machine isn’t available yet.
Harman noted until the week before school started he wasn’t sure the culinary arts room would be available. Having sack lunches brought in at least temporarily was a possibility being considered. But work was completed in time to at least cook the food.
Only some electrical work to allow flat screen televisions to be installed remains to be done in the cafeteria. “The room is probably about 98 percent complete,” he said.