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BISD hosts open house for remodeled, expanded cafeteria

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Bandera ISD administration hosted an open house for the newly remodeled and expanded Bandera High School cafeteria Monday evening, August 13.

The new facility contains over 10,000 square feet, with a little over 6,000 sf in dining area and 3,000 sf in the kitchen. The $1.3 million re-design preserved the popular patio area that overlooks the Hill Country and Bandera.

After months of planning, the foundation for the expansion was poured in February. Contractors worked around school schedules to avoid disruptions as much as possible, while aiming for an August completion.

During the open house, BISD Board President Dr. Barbara Skipper thanked everyone for working as a team to pull the project together on time and on budget.

Architects for the project were RVK Architects under the guidance of Heath Wenrich. Contractor was Huser Construction, headed by Scott Rain.
The cafeteria will now offer at least three food lines as well as a snack bar accessible from inside or from the patio.

"The additional lines will help our students get their food faster and have more time to eat," said food services staffer Nita Weber.

Plenty of electrical outlets, plus phone line and wi-fi connections, will make the facility adaptable to meetings for students, clubs, staff and the public, said BISD Superintendent Regina Howell.

In addition to administrators Howell and BHS Principal Gary Bitzkie and board members, the BISD Construction Committee included Tish Grill, Ed Barnes, Kay Keen, Felicia Bell, Kyle Martin, David Brown and BHS student representatives. Also participating in the details were representatives from Aramark, BISD's food service provider.

Among those recognized during the open house was Bob Tomasini of Bandera. Tomasini, a Bulldog grandparent, is completing a stained glass design to go above the doors of the cafeteria.

The facility is furnished with the usual long cafeteria tables, as well as a number of round tables, short rectangular tables, and, sure to be a hit with students, tall tables with bar stools that offer a refreshing view through the windows lining the addition.

Director of Food Services Felicia Bell and her staff showed off the expanded serving and prep areas, office space, staff lockers and spacious pantry.

"We can store a lot of food in here," said BHS Cafeteria Manager Tammy Koerner, with a smile.

The project was paid for from the district's fund balance, not a bond issue.

"We're working hard to make every tax dollar go a far as it can," said Howell.

Pictured: BISD Superintendent Regina Howell presents copies of the dedication plaque to BHS Principal Gary Bitzkie and BISD board members Rick Groomer, Don Miller, Dr. Barbara Skipper, Laurie Palacios, Laurie Neff and Lee Haile. Trustee Greg Hicks was not present for the open house.

There is absolutely no doubt you're in Bulldog Country when dining in Bandera High School's newly remodeled and expanded cafeteria. The expansion nearly doubled the size of the facility, providing more serving lines and new equipment for the cafeteria staff.

Photos by Carolyn B. Edwards
BISD board member Laurie Palacios, second from right, joins Bandera High School food services staff for a tour of the newly remodeled and expanded cafeteria. Pictured are Nita Weber, assistant to the director; Felicia Bell, food service director for BISD, and Tammy Koerner, manager of the BHS cafeteria.

Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Mary Baker, right, manager of Hill Country Elementary cafeteria, and her staff member, Nancy Love, catered a festive buffet for the Bandera High School cafeteria open house held Monday, August 13. The duo were assisted by a chef from Aramark, which handles food services for the Bandera ISD. Baker said they will be offering catering services this year to the public. Just call 830-535-5104.

Bob Tomasini and BHS Principal Gary Bitzkie show off the design for stained glass windows Tomasini is doing for the cafeteria.

A raised ceiling in the addition and plenty of windows overlooking a million-dollar Hill Country View afford a sense of warm spaciousness.