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Medea Creek Middle School receives $125,000 to expand kitchen

Medea Creek middle school receives $125,000 from Measure S and uses it to expand kitchen.

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Kitchen renovations, to the tune of $125,000 in Measure S money, are in the works for Medea Creek Middle School.

“Measure S is a bond issue passed by our community that really goes towards school facilities in the district really to expand and modernize the school facilities,” MCMS Principal Brad Benioff said.

The MCMS kitchen was built originally to prepare and heat foods, but the school changed the purpose of their kitchen.

“A few years ago, looking at the overall health and wellness policies, [we thought it] would be best to serve the students fresh cooked, healthy foods,” Benioff said.

However, this shift in function has strained the resources of the kitchen, prompting the need for renovation.

“We knew that there was not completely the whole infrastructure for [the hot food program] to be up to the Ventura County health codes, so [these renovations] have definitively been needed for a few years,” Benioff said.

As a result, MCMS has applied for modernization funds from the California government to fund this expansion.

“Medea [Creek Middle School] is up for what’s called modernization funds from the state where if we plan certain projects, the state will match funds, or generally match funds, so you can almost double the money put into the new facilities,” Benioff said.

The main issue that MCMS faces is that the kitchen workspaces are crowded; the school wants to enlarge these spaces to make the kitchen less congested.

“That’s what the expansion is, having more cooking oven space, [dishwashing, storing utensils and refrigeration], everything’s being expanded,” Benioff said.

Aside from expanding the kitchen to ensure it meets Ventura County health codes, MCMS also plans to reduce the wait times for students in the cafeteria lines. In particular, the school is focusing on improving the snack line.

“Right now, we have just the hallway for the snack line and that’s always gone pretty slowly. So, they’re going to be redesigning so that there’ll be more than one window and a couple of stations,” Benioff said.

Trent Chu, an eighth grader at MCMS, reacted positively to the changes in the MCMS kitchen.

“The cafeteria is better than it used to be. I like how the school arranged the snack line, especially since I eat there a lot, and this change was really nice for me,” Chu said.

Some students, however, did not even know that the kitchen had undergone renovations.

“The cafeteria still felt the same to me,” said sixth grader Dane Koval.

Though, according to Benioff, he and many teachers enjoy the school’s fresh cooked food.

“There’s always this excuse out there that kids won’t eat something that’s healthy and I think that this is a really good model that they will if it’s tasty, good food and it’s made right,” Benioff said.

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