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Centertown eyes new look for cafeteria

Centertown Elementary seeks a redesign for its cafeteria.

Director of school nutrition Faye Taylor prepared a proposal for the Warren County School Board to approve at the January School Board meeting. Director of Schools Grant Swallows told the Board, “Just remember that this is something that food services has taken on at different schools over the last few years.

“Irving College being one of those, of course, West was also one of those in the building project. Hickory Creek is in the middle of this, they’re just not there, yet. They are doing some tweaks to their design.” Centertown is the next school to get an upgrade. Swallows added, “This is set to give them more space and give them some modern, up-to-date seating.”

Taylor wrote a letter to the Board along with the proposal. Swallows told the Board, “Faye said in her letter that Centertown has had broken stools in the past two years. That’s equal to about $2,000 to replace those. It’s time to upgrade and get some better quality.”

According to Swallows, Centertown principal Pam Cowan is thrilled with the proposal and they are excited to have this opportunity. Swallows said, “We’ve done the same thing at WCHS, WCMS, West as well. The high school is well done, but we need more space.”

Palmer Hamilton Design is the same company who did the other projects and are also a part of the Source Well contract with the state and with the district. Being in the contract and since PH Design is an approved vendor, Warren County Schools doesn’t have to bid for this project. Swallows told the Board, “The amount of this project is $72,026. It will replace all the seating with booth seating and add some graphics to the cafeteria.”

After moving to approve the proposal, Board member Bill Zechman asked about the aesthetics of the new proposal and what colors were chosen. The Centertown school colors of black, red, gray and white will decorate the tables and seats.

Board member Tanya Bess asked, “Does this cafeteria floor plan increase the number of seating?”

Swallows answered, “I believe it does.”

Bess then asked, “Also, I noticed there is not any booth seating. Have we found that in previous cafeteria designs that that’s maybe not the best design to have booth seating?”

Swallows said, “I don’t know. At the high school, it’s fairly popular. I think they like that. Just in this setting, they need as many seats as they can get because Centertown continues to grow. And I can tell you when I go into the high school, there’s generally three or four kids sitting in one booth.”

Board member Chris Cope said, “Centertown is getting some age on it now.” He added, “I noticed the gym’s bleachers are starting to have some busted holes and this and that. This cafeteria’s been like this for a couple years where a lot the seats haven’t been able to be used, so this is 16 years now in this school. It’s not a new school by no means.”

Zechman asked what the enrollment was at Centertown, and Swallows said they are right at 520 students. Zechman then asked, “Are we able to start and end the lunch period within a decent timeframe?”

Swallows answered, “I think we are, and again, I think there’s concerns there. I think if you talk to Mrs. Cowan, she would like to have more space, but I think if you talked to any principal in the district, they’d like to have some more space.

“I’m not discounting that; I think it’s certainly a concern as we move forward. Ultimately, that’s why we’re adding classroom space, but again, I think, just to go back to what we talked about in facilities, there’s always a project for us to do.”

The School Board unanimously approved the proposal for the new Centertown Elementary cafeteria design.