Students return to cafeteria

Modernization project at Luther Burbank school is done, and kitchen is soon to follow.

October 31, 2007|By Rachel Kane

BURBANK — Students at Luther Burbank Middle School temporarily displaced from their eating quarters during modernization returned last week to a refurbished cafeteria.

Since late April, facilities workers and contracted painters and construction crews have been working to get the school’s cafeteria up to snuff.

The eating area in the cafeteria reopened for students to dine in last week after being closed since April 30 for work. Ralph Peschek, director of food services for the district, and school administrators did a walk-through of the area to make sure it was ready.


“Kids are excited to have that area back,” Principal Anita Schackmann said. “With the heat this week, it’s been nice to have a place that’s cooler and out of the heat.”

Children have been eating their lunches in the cafeteria and even playing games during nutrition times in the freshly painted space.

“It’s clean and nice and well painted, and it looks brand new, so we’re excited to begin using it fully,” Schackmann said. “It’s all cleaned and ready to go, and now it’s Food Services that is getting it stocked and ready to roll.”

Luther Burbank’s facilities serve as a central food distributor for all elementary schools in the district.

There, cafeteria workers prepare fresh salads and sandwiches for all elementary schools daily, Peschek, said.

All kitchen staff at Luther Burbank were moved to Jordan Middle School during the construction. Jordan’s cafeteria has served as the central food distribution site for the elementary schools during the modernization.

But come Monday, kitchen workers will return to new and improved operations, Peschek said.

“It had been a long time since that kitchen had been worked on,” he said. “It was just in need of a little face lift, and that’s what it got.”

Fresh paint, new floors, windows and some new kitchen equipment have been installed at the cafeteria to make food preparation more efficient, he said.

Crews installed two new double-door steamer units for vegetable, rice and pasta cooking en masse, as well as a new double-stack oven for larger cooking capacity.

The new equipment in the kitchen should allow for easier handling of the large quantities of food prepared, Peschek said.

“The cooks didn’t have a big pot in the kitchen before,” he said. “They actually were having to cook pasta for all the elementary schools on a range top. . . . When we did a pasta day it was completely one lady or two ladies dedicated to just pasta.”

Students at Luther Burbank will continue to dine from food carts containing meals and drinks set up on campus until the kitchen’s food caches have been fully restored and the staff has been reintroduced to the space.

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