Taylor High School kitchen set for remodel

Feb. 22—The kitchen for Taylor Middle and High schools is slated to get its first significant upgrade in at least 14 years this summer.

The Taylor School Board approved earlier this month to remodel the kitchen for a little more than $200,000.

The remodel will include upgrading various equipment including a pass-through refrigerator. This type of cooler allows food service staff to slide food in and out easily.

The current refrigerator is dated and needs repairs, leading to a common problem when it comes to older equipment.

"Now they're telling me it will cost me more to repair than to replace it," said Paula Bolin, food service director at Taylor.

Pass-through warmers, which serve a similar function for warm foods, will be replaced, too.

The remodel will see the replacement of the cold serving area. This is where food is kept cold prior to serving. Bolin said kitchen staff have to use ice to keep food cold as the serving area doesn't work.

"The equipment is old and deteriorating," Bolin said.

Funds will come from the school's cafeteria budget. Work is expected to be done over the summer. Bolin said some state assistance will offset some of the costs of the remodel.

The financial assistance is to help ease the strain of rising food costs.

Taylor schools received a payment from the state in September and expected to receive another one worth $41,932 this month. A third payment will arrive before the end of the school year.

"I will tell you one thing: the state realizes and understands that cafeterias are struggling with the food costs going up so high," Bolin said.

Kitchen upgrades should result in more students eating school lunch. Bolin said she was told schools that upgrade their kitchen get more participation from students who are curious about the improvements.

"It will be very nice, modern and updated," Bolin said.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.