Currently, school meals for Fayston Elementary School and Waitsfield Elementary School are prepared by two food service professionals at Fayston Elementary and transported to Waitsfield Elementary, which does not have a commercial kitchen or dishwashing capacity. The dirty dishes are then transported back to Fayston and clean dishes are brought back to Waitsfield. Waitsfield principal Kaiya Korb said at the October 26 Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board meeting that this system is inefficient and that Waitsfield serves nearly double the number of meals that Fayston does. The food service team is transporting roughly 120 lunches and 70 breakfasts from Fayston to Waitsfield daily. The food service workers transport the meals and dishes in a truck and it can be a challenge to fit all those meals in the vehicle. Korb also noted that the school is serving more meals than it was prior to the pandemic.
Korb and HUUSD facilities director discussed a proposal at the October 26 meeting to construct a commercial kitchen capable of preparing student meals at Waitsfield Elementary and switching to preparing both Fayston and Waitsfield students’ meals at Waitsfield and transporting them to Fayston. That would allow the schools to continue having two food service workers to prepare all meals and not require additional staff. Further, as Fayston does have capacity to wash their dishes on site, the dishes would not have to be transported back and forth. HUUSD finance and operations director Lisa Estler said the preliminary estimate for the cost of the new kitchen is $553,000. The proposal is to bring engineers and architects in to design the new kitchen and go out to bid. The funds would be used from the maintenance reserve fund, which she said is currently $4.1 million.
Board members Christine Sullivan and Bobbi Rood, both of whom had kids go through Waitsfield Elementary School, said a new kitchen has been discussed at least since their kids began elementary school and both of their kids have now graduated high school. “This is a valuable investment to be able to give one of our highly populated schools an opportunity to make their own lunches and not have to transport from a smaller kitchen,” Rood said.
Building a new kitchen at Waitsfield Elementary School will be on the HUUSD Board’s agenda to vote on at the next meeting.