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CHS lunch lineTaco salad was being served in the Columbia cafeteria on Wednesday, one of the most popular items on the menu. Students quickly moved through the line, adding their toppings and then selecting fruit and milk before checking out.

Other students ordered custom-made sandwiches at the deli counter across the serving room, which is now separated from the dining area by glass windows and doors.

Just two weeks into the new school year and administrators are already seeing the benefits of the cafeteria renovation from this summer. By expanding cafeteria seating on the upper level into the courtyard, Columbia can accommodate about 80 more students per lunch period. That has allowed the school to eliminate serving lunch third period (9:05-9:50 a.m.).

“It’s going really well,” said Principal John Sawchuk as he sat at a table eating lunch in the cafeteria. “The serving setup is more efficient.”

The serving area was gutted to reorganize the lunch lines and cash registers, and relocate the dishwashing area to its own room off the side. The expansion features a wall of glass windows up against the courtyard where sunshine streams through.

“There’s more natural light,” one student said.

Columbia, Goff and Genet all had kitchen renovations this summer as part of the Capital Project that was just completed. The other four schools were renovated last summer.

“I would like to thank the Board and the taxpayers for allowing the kitchens to be updated,” said Food Service Manager Phyllis Sanford-Krug. “With increased freezer storage we have switched to all frozen steamed vegetables, which decreases sodium and increases nutritional value in the food. All kitchens have commercial steamers and convection ovens, saving electricity, decreasing cooking time and increasing palatability. We are excited to try new items and recipes.”

Visit the Food Services page for menus and information about the online meal prepayment system.