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Aug 30, 2011 4:49 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New Cafeteria Equipment Will Not Arrive In Time For First Day Of School At Hampton Bays

Aug 31, 2011 8:54 AM

The Hampton Bays High School will reopen on Wednesday with a brand-new cafeteria, but with the same old kitchen appliances—including old refrigerators and serving equipment—as $139,000 worth of new kitchen equipment will not be delivered in time for the start of the new school year.

“We will be able to operate,” said Larry Luce, the business administrator for the district. “We saved the old serving equipment—it was in good enough shape that we were planning on using it somewhere else. We will put that back into place.”

The $300,000 cafeteria renovation project took place at the Argonne Road East school over the summer and aimed to expand the size of its serving line. The expansion involved knocking down a wall to a storage room and converting the space into a secondary serving area. The new serving area will offer more cold food options, once the proper equipment arrives sometime during the first two weeks of school.

“The length of it and how it all fits together in the line is all custom done school by school,” Mr. Luce said. “We did know that there was a chance we might not have it for the start of school, but we were hopeful.”

The cafeteria equipment will be provided by Bar Boy, a restaurant equipment supply company with a location in Hampton Bays. The company was awarded the project after offering the lowest bid, $139,000, for all the new equipment. The total cost of the cafeteria project was $300,000. The entire cost of the project will not be footed by taxpayers, as it will be paid through an account derived from funds that the school has raised through the sale of lunches over the years, according to district officials.

Currently, the serving area provides meals to about 500 students at the high school, with 120 students visiting the area during each of four periods a day. Prior to learning that the kitchen equipment would not arrive in time, district officials were also grappling with the idea that they might not have the right tile to put down in the cafeteria to match tile that was installed during the last cafeteria upgrade in 1971. Mr. Luce eventually located the new tiles and they were installed on Monday, August 29.

“We may not have all the equipment we need for the first day of school, but we will be able to operate,” Mr. Luce reiterated.

Playground Equipment
For Special Needs Students

Children with special needs attending the Hampton Bays Elementary School will soon have a new specialized playground music center to enjoy during recess, thanks to a federal grant that aims to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities.

The playground, which will cost about $14,000 and be installed near the preexisting playground behind the Ponquogue Avenue school, will feature a large number of colored panels that play music when they are manipulated, according to Mark Pagano, the assistant to the superintendent for student services. He said the system is considered an outdoor music center for students with disabilities.

“The music center will be on the floor, on a soft playground surface,” Mr. Pagano said. “It’s essentially a place for kids who are on the autism spectrum and have physical disabilities. It’s a starting point to give these kids the opportunity to join their peers during recess.”

Mr. Luce said the equipment, which could be installed as early as October, will cost about $5,000, while the soft surface will run about $9,000. The money was secured through a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he said.

“We have to put down a special surface, because it has to be cushy for falls, and it has to be firm enough for a wheelchair to roll on it,” Mr. Luce said, noting that the special surface will be purple, the school’s color. “It’s designed for special needs children. It’s meant so that students in wheelchairs—someone with mobility issues—can use it. The younger grades probably could play on it, say, kindergarten and first grade.”

“We had some money left over, and we had to commit to use it by August 30 or lose it,” Mr. Luce later added. “So we’re putting in a piece for special needs children.”

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All this talk about LUNCH at Hampton Bays? Only thing that sums it up is by saying, Luce and the School Board are "OUT TO LUNCH"!
By BigOne (22), Hampton Bays on Sep 1, 11 12:12 AM