Central Islip High School
Central Islip, NY
When Paul Carlozzo first arrived at the Central Islip School District in New York, he was struck by the outdated cafeteria at Central Islip Senior High School.
The new school nutrition director had come from a corporate dining background and knew he could get more engagement from students with an improved setting and better menu.
“It was just an antiquated space,” Carlozzo said. “There were no serving lines, no display or presentation areas. It was just a serving window with a sign of the day’s menu.”
He proposed and won approval for a cafeteria overhaul project for the school, which has a student population of about 2,300.
Building for the future
The goals for Carlozzo and his team were to update and expand the serving area, introduce a wider menu variety and create a modern, engaging environment where students want to eat.
The school worked with LTI’s VisionDesign service to craft an entirely new cafeteria experience — from new serving lines and food stations to colorful wall art and customized décor.
What had previously been a menu of just a couple items transformed into one with a wide and changing variety. Two serving lines with unique serving stations were built from scratch. Each line has a different configuration of branded options, with choices like sandwiches at the Musketeer Deli, ready-to-take options at Grab and Go Express, pizza and calzones at Cucina de Italia, burgers at Gridiron Grill, and rotating ethnic food choices at World’s Fare.
The renovation also introduced a snack window for small a la carte items — perfect for the students who just want a drink or bag of chips to go with a lunch from home — and a teacher’s window that opens directly into a faculty and staff room.
LTI also constructed a condiment area for salad dressings, napkins and similar items.
The entire project, from the custom serving lines to the seating, was designed and branded with the school’s colors and Musketeer mascot.
“Students came back in September, and their jaws dropped,” Carlozzo said. “There’s a lot of student pride in that cafeteria because it’s all about Central Islip.”
The appeal of the new cafeteria was immediately evident when participation jumped from 55% to more than 90%. Faculty/staff participation and sales of a la carte items also increased.
“This was a major project, and the LTI team made it a very smooth process from design to installation,” Carlozzo said. “They were creative and knowledgeable, and their work has gotten nothing but raves from customers, stakeholders and administrators.”
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