MCHS celebrates remodeled cafeteria

By: Gabrielle Gonzalez, The News Dispatch

January 25, 2017

MICHIGAN CITY— The Michigan City High School held an official grand opening for its cafeteria Monday morning.

The partners and school staff involved in this project were recognized and celebrated by a ribbon cutting and hot breakfast. The newly renovated cafeteria amounted to $866,524, which was funded by the Michigan City Area Schools’ Department of Food Services, with no impact to taxpayers or the school’s general fund.

“This is a way to move MCHS forward,” MCAS Superintendent Barbara Eason-Watkins said at the ceremony.

Partners of the project were: HRI Solutions Inc., for consulting and design, food service equipment and serving lines; Hebard & Hebard Architects Inc., for design, scope and budgeting; Gariup Construction, for constructing the cafeteria; C&T Design, for food equipment; and Sodexo Inc., for project management.

According to the MCAS press release, construction for the cafeteria began in June 2016 and continued through mid-September 2016. Students received their first official meal from the new cafeteria Oct. 3.

“I’ve been here for three years,” said MCAS Food Services Director Cindy Licciardone. “Michigan City cares about its education. The cafeteria now has a new, modern look, is functional to our needs and a place where students can be proud of. It gives a whole new atmosphere.”

Since the opening of the new cafeteria, more students have purchased lunch meals. The increase of meals purchased has resulted in the hiring of two full-time staff members to the MCHS cafeteria team. MCHS currently serves approximately 1,300 meals between a three-hour time span each day.

Licciardone said they serve 30 pizzas a day, which would be equivalent to the amount of 70 frozen pizzas from a grocery store. She said they have received positive comments from the students and staff since October.

“We love the new cafeteria,” said MCHS student council member Jenna Stevenson, who is also a part of the Nutrition Advisory Council for the school.

The seating is a mix of round tables and and rectangular tables. A high-top bar was also placed along one of the walls where students can have access to outlets to charge their electronic devices.

What was once the “Wolves Den” sandwich and soup area is now a room dedicated to a high-speed, ventless oven where students can receive homemade pizza, hot sandwiches and flatbreads.

“Every minute is so valuable in the day of a student,” said Richard Hebard of Hebard & Hebard Inc., who helped renovate the cafeteria, as well as Edgewood Elementary School in the 1990s and Pine Elementary School in 2010. “Faced with acoustic control, flow and congestion with the students … it’s really been a pleasure working with Cindy and the staff.”

Other representatives at the ribbon cutting included MCAS Superintendent Wendel McCollum, MCHS Principal Bonnie Manuel, MCHS Cafeteria Manager Roxanne Wingard, MCAS board members Marty Corley and Theresa Edwards, Sodexo Inc.’s Operations Manager Dave Williamson and General Manager Paz Garcia, and HRI Inc.’s Food Service Equipment Specialist Tim Christenson.

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