The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

December 26, 2013

East Park readies colorful cafeteria

DANVILLE — When students return to East Park Elementary School after winter break, they will be treated to a brand new dining area where they will eat breakfast and lunch.

Colorful posters promoting physical activity and nutritious food choices and painted positive messages on the walls brighten up the new cafeteria that boasts a seating capacity of 448 students as well as a new, state-of-the-art kitchen.

“With this being an elementary school, we decided to put up positive messages about manners and respect besides nutritional information,” Food Service Director Greg Lazzell said. “We’re trying to promote eating healthier items.”

East Park — which was originally built as a junior high school in 1961 and used as a middle school until 1987 — is the third and final school to be improved in District 118’s three-year, $30 million renovation project. During the last three years, South View and North Ridge middle schools also have been renovated.

The school’s renovations began earlier in the year, with the cafeteria being slated to be finished last. Students have been eating their meals in one of three commons areas in the school, which tended to be disruptive to surrounding classrooms.

“This was the same layout as the middle schools. They served the meals in three commons areas,” Lazzell said. “It made us inefficient and it was disruptive being in the commons areas.”

When students enter the spacious dining area trimmed in gray and blue, they will pass The Healthy Link, an information center on a wall where they can view a couple of the 40 different posters in flip-art frames that depict anthropomorphic fruits and vegetables conveying a variety of messages about nutrition and physical activity.

The state-of-the-art kitchen features the latest kitchen equipment that will ensure the children’s meals are as fresh and as high quality as possible, Lazzell said.

The combi-ovens in the new kitchen are “a steamer and oven combined,” Lazzell explained. The oven steams the food initially and then blasts it with heat to replicate frying.

“It will replicate frying something without deep frying it,” he said. “We installed them at the middle schools, and we’re very pleased with them.”

East Park’s kitchen also has a brand new walk-in cooler and a brand new walk-in freezer that actually are separate self-contained units that were brought in and attached to openings on the outside of the school on Colfax Street.

Having the cooler and freezer units attached to the outside of the school opened up more space inside the kitchen and the cafeteria.

“They save so much square footage inside the kitchen,” Lazzell said.

A new conveyor dishwasher heats water up to 180 degrees to sanitize the dishes, he said.

The dry storage area in the kitchen is furnished with racks and portable canned goods storage units on wheels for easier access to ingredients.

A pass-through cooler and a pass-through holding oven between the kitchen and the serving area ensures hot foods stay hot and cold foods stay cold.

“We want to make sure the kids are served better quality meals and food that’s fresher,” Lazzell said. “This new kitchen will allow food service to serve the kids better quality meals.”

The new cafeteria is equipped with a pull-down screen and a projector so the area can also be used as a multipurpose room.

“The biggest thing is we have a cafeteria — a central area — that’s away from the classrooms,” he said.

East Park Principal Eliza Brooks said students took a tour of the new cafeteria to see how breakfast and lunch would be served before school was dismissed for winter break, but she is eager for the children to be able to use the cafeteria every day.

“It will be a better experience for the kids in the beautiful dining room,” she said. “The kids deserve a place where they can talk freely and where they can interact with their peers.

“Having that all in one area is nice,” Brooks added. “We’ll have an area for other opportunities, too.”


Text Only
Local News
  • Art group plans open house

    August 20, 2014

  • Barbecue contest opens

    August 20, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    August 20, 2014

  • Hoopeston council holds firm on contract

    Mike Streff, Foth Infrastructure & Environment. L.L.C., brought an issue to the city council Tuesday evening regarding the city's elevated water tank.

    August 20, 2014

  • Turtle Reunion T-shirts still for sale DANVILLE — The results from the 50th and Final Turtle Club Reunion, “The Last Lap,” despite the weather, are totaled.The results show a preliminary profit to be given away of $6,598.There still are 50th Anniversary T-shirts for sale to raise that amo

    August 20, 2014

  • New businesses coming to Danville DANVILLE — Two new businesses are joining the city’s North Vermilion Street and Gilbert Street lineups.Mattress Firm will be joining the strip mall in front of Kohl’s and next to Cellular One on North Vermilion Street.While TitleMax will be going int

    August 20, 2014

  • NWS-CN 08-20 Stones photo Veterans' graves may get new stones DANVILLE — A local group wants to make sure veterans do not become "unknown soldiers," due to worn stones at Spring Hill Cemetery.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council OKs property, machine purchases DANVILLE — Mayor Scott Eisenhauer declared a vacancy in an aldermanic seat on the city council in Ward 7 at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.Ward 7 Alderman Bill Black resigned from the city council after being appointed to serve as a trustee on

    August 20, 2014

  • Community briefs DANVILLERoads closed for workDanville officials announce micro-surfacing of Denmark Road and East Voorhees / Lynch is scheduled to begin this week. Depending upon weather, the schedule for the work is: • Today – northbound Denmark Road from Winter to

    August 20, 2014

  • CRIS diabetes program set

    August 19, 2014

Spring 2014 Photos

Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners
NDN Video
Reggie Jackson's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Motorcyclist Sticks Landing This 'Breaking Bad' Reunion is the Most Hilarious Thing You'll See All Day! President Obama talks about who James Foley was Nicki Minaj Unleashes Her 'Anaconda' On the World Watch Helicopter Perform Aerial Ballet Can Buckeyes fill Miller's void? Victoria's Secret Models Prove They're in Fighting Shape How Brian Hoyer Stacks Up With Johnny Manziel Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan Man Poses for New Mugshot Photo Wearing Shirt with Old Mugshot Photo On It Disquieting times for Malaysia's 'fish listeners' Caught On Camera: Johnny Manziel Obscene Gesture Rita Ora Embraces the Ice Bucket Challenge Bird surprises soccer player Ashley Young during game Chapter Two: Never too late to become an artist Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Viral, Raises Over $15M For ALS Damaging Winds Stop the Show! In the Cockpit of the Air Force's Elite Squadron
Must Read