Makeover expands high school servery and production areas by 60%, cuts student waiting time by 50%
Students at North Scott High School in Eldridge, Iowa often had to wait in a long line to get their lunches. They didn’t have much time to eat and the selection was limited. Moreover, the production staff had to contend with space shortages and an inefficient layout.
Today, the North Scott servery and kitchen offer a much different experience: multiple stations and copious food choices greet students, while larger spaces and an open arrangement give staff much more room to maneuver.
All these changes result in faster delivery times. During each of the two lunch periods, the staff can feed 275 to 300 students within seven to eight minutes! That’s a big difference from the 15 to 20 minutes it took for the same number of students in the old space.
The project, designed by Legat Architects, gutted the entire food service area and an adjacent classroom, then started from scratch. It expands the school’s kitchen, food storage, and serving spaces from 3,300 square feet to 5,200 square feet.
Amy Guerrero, director of food service at North Scott Community Schools, said, “We are very pleased with the way this project turned out. Not only is it a beautiful space, but it is also highly functional for the staff.”
More Time, More Choices
According to Guerrero, the project had two main student-oriented goals: more time to eat and greater food selection. Before construction, students queued in the only line, took a lunch tray, added their food, and waited.
Legat’s design triples the size of the servery by incorporating the former classroom.
“We wanted a space where students felt like they were going out to lunch at a restaurant,”
said Guerrero. “With 10 to 12 menu options daily, students have twice as many choices as before. Also, the presentation of the fruits and vegetables on the new serving bar has
increased student consumption of healthier options.”
Students can choose from five server-operated stations and a grab-and-go station. The project also converts a storage area into a breakfast bar/snack shop where students can get everything from juice and granola bars to a hot plate.
Legat’s Zach Campbell said, “The combination of more choices, the servery layout, and the kitchen upgrades allows students to get their food a lot quicker and therefore have much more time to eat.”
Faster Prep, More Storage
Before renovations, production staff had to move between walled zones. The makeover knocks out those walls to create one much larger space with updated freezer and cooler equipment, as well as new cookline appliances such as a range, boilers, kettles, skillets, and steamers. Movable prep tables improve workflow, while HVAC updates increase the flow and quality of air. Production spaces also include a larger bakery area and a cold prep area.
Beyond the improvements in productivity, the project also gives the food-related areas an aesthetic refresh.
The serving area looked dated—it had not been updated for over 20 years. It had a random assortment of old serving equipment and its walls showed wear and tear. The kitchen also showed its age: worn quarry tile flooring, plastic-looking walls, and even some ceiling tiles falling out.
Today, the North Scott High School colors of red and cool gray welcome students to the servery. Features include ceramic tile flooring with a wood plank finish, shiny red soffits running over the serving stations, and an island with a wood finish on its panels.
A fresh coat of gray paint and new ceilings revive the production area. Additionally, new epoxy flooring is not only easier on the back, but also has a smooth finish (no grout lines) that makes it easier to clean.