Duval County Public Schools Cafeteria Renovations
When Florida’s Duval County Public Schools wanted to invest in its schools’ appeal and function, officials knew to head straight for the cafeterias.
At Westside High, serving about 1,500 students in Jacksonville, the cafeteria could generously be described as dated. Exposed conduit and stainless steel electric piping dotted the walls, the servery was cramped and its equipment old, and the space was generally drab and unappealing.
Across town, Twin Lakes Academy Middle was also ready for an upgrade to speed lines and engage students.
LTI’s VisionDesign became the driving force behind both renovations.
The Westside High cafeteria underwent a dramatic reshaping, with walls removed to open up the space and introduce more serving capacity, as well as create a more café-like feel.
With a team of experienced school design professionals, LTI created a design that introduced dramatic red and gray décor elements — from signage to wall coverings — to reflect the school colors and Wolverine mascot and add visual interest to the previously lifeless space.
The project increased the number of serving lines from three to five, introducing themed stations like Wolverine Deli and Westside Pizza.
The serving lines incorporated LTI’s QuickSwitch technology, which allows hot and cold foods to be held side by side. Wells can also switch between temperatures in an hour or less, introducing a new level of flexibility to the servery.
Previously, food was separated into hot and refrigerated serving counters, making it hard to build a cohesive plate of food.
“If your baked potato is on the other side of the servery from your sour cream and cheese or if your burger is separated from the lettuce and tomato toppings, it can really make the line efficient as students try to go back and forth to get the things they need. It slows things down and creates a bottleneck,” said Willis Smith, LTI’s education sales specialist.
At Twin Lakes Academy Middle, a school with about 1,200 students in sixth through eighth grades, another old-fashioned and slow-moving configuration was replaced with a more modern, open design. In the process, points of service were doubled from two to four to increase throughput.
LTI proposed a new décor to create a visually appealing — and physical interactive — environment. One wall incorporated a dry erase board into a graduation-themed graphic so that students could sign their names before leaving the school. Another area, with a notebook paper graphic, created a place for students to hang posters or announcements.
Bright blues and reds were introduced throughout the serving and dining areas to create a vibrant space, and the school’s Timberwolves mascot was incorporated into various design elements to build school spirit.
The serving lines in the newly named Twin Lakes Café included LTI serving technologies like QuickSwitch wells and Ceran glass shelves for long-lasting flexibility in menu design and food service.