District Continues Cafeteria Renovations to Provide Larger Food Variety

Because of continued delays caused by unforeseen construction issues, the district continues to renovate the cafeteria to offer students a larger variety of food options and will fully re-open as soon as possible.

“It was all supposed to be done before school started,” Assistant Principal Mike Vopal said. “The kitchen was supposed to be done last year after Spring Break, but because of construction and equipment issues, the kitchen and bistro are supposed to be opening after Labor Day.”

The new kitchen will have an entirely new floor because of plumbing issues during construction.

“The plumbing under the floor required more work and time than originally anticipated,” Field Supervisor Cantree Kinzer said. “It caused a three-week delay.”

The district identified the kitchen’s size as a reason for renovation.

“Mansfield had the smallest kitchen in the school district,” Kinzer said. “We needed to expand the area to accommodate the menu items being offered.”

The school’s student count has grown over time, so the kitchen needed to grow as well, Vopal said.

“The people in the Nutrition Office decided that it was time to update the facility,” he said. “And besides, when they built the school we didn’t have 2500 kids going here, so we needed to expand.”

When finished, the cafeteria will have a complete overhaul of changes to create a better workspace.

“We’ll have a safer environment, better workflow and cooking equipment for more food options,” Kinzer said. “The serving lines have been upgraded for fresher food and smoother customer flow.”

Students and workers will benefit from the food and equipment changes.

“We will be able to serve different types of food, be able to get it out a lot quicker and that’s all going to benefit you guys,” Mr. Vopal said. “All the appliances, ovens, freezers, and equipment to process the foods are going to be new.”

Some students were unsatisfied with the food served by the cafeteria while it was under construction.

“The quality of the food dropped tremendously after construction,” junior Balint Hem-Ravitat said. “ I actually preferred the stuff they had before construction.”

Other students said they never liked the cafeteria’s food before construction began and hope for improvements.

“I’d like new, fresh and hot food that doesn’t feel like it was just heated from under a lamp,” senior Nick Gonzalez said. “I don’t think the quality dropped so much as value did.”

Students said they hope the new cafeteria will be worth it, despite the wait.

“I hope for new and better food,” Hem-Ravitat said. “The cafeteria’s food can be fixed by using fresher produce, actual meat and less processed stuff.”

The staff is hopeful the cafeteria will open soon and satisfy the customers.

“Our most important goal is making sure everything is clean and ready,” Kinzer said. “After learning all the new recipes and larger variety of options, we’re so excited for the students to enjoy it. We appreciate everyone’s patience.”