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
  • NWS-CN 07-20 Foster mug County clerk on hunt for general election judges DANVILLE — The Vermilion County Clerk’s office is looking for a few good men and women for this year’s general election.On Thursday, Vermilion County Board members certified the county’s first group of election judges for the November general electio

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 07-29 Talking photo Report: Medicare looking better WASHINGTON — Medicare’s financial future is looking brighter despite a growing wave of baby boomers reaching retirement.Getting relief from a slowdown in health care spending, the program’s giant hospital trust fund won’t be exhausted until 2030, the

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Reports Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleFriday:Battery and obstructing an officer in the 1600 block of East English Street.Burglary at The Juke, 1214 E. Main St.Saturday:Theft in the 1500 block of Oak Street.Vehicle burglary in the 100 block of

    July 29, 2014

  • Two hurt in weekend shootings in Danville DANVILLE — Two victims are listed in good condition following a pair of weekend shooting incidents in Danville.Danville Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason confirmed the shootings, which took place around 8:15 p.m. Friday and just before 5 a.m.

    July 29, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Saturday, 10:08-10:23 a.m. — A medical call in the 200 block of Delaware Avenue.Saturday, 10:47-10:54 a.m. — Assist Medix in the first block of East Harrison Street.Saturday, 11:37-11:49 a.m. — A medical

    July 29, 2014

  • Library sets program for Farmers' Market

    July 28, 2014

  • Reception celebrates truck

    July 28, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 28, 2014

  • Artists can sell artwork

    July 27, 2014

  • Children’s show auditions set

    July 27, 2014

Spring 2014 Photos

Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Must Read