Planning underway for kitchen upgrades

Dallas School District

Dallas School District

DALLAS — Construction on new multipurpose rooms at Oakdale Heights and Lyle elementary schools in Dallas is slated to begin this summer.

At its meeting Feb. 22, the Dallas School Board got a first glimpse of what the additions, which will double as kitchens and cafeterias, will look like during a presentation from architect AC + Co.

At both schools, the multipurpose rooms will replace the gyms as the location for lunch service and sorely outdated kitchens.

Facilities Manager Kevin Montague said when the updates were first discussed, the plan wasn’t to move the kitchens. The more he and building principals looked at how space was being used compared to other schools, the more the idea made sense.

“If we are going to be doing this — doing upgrades in the kitchen, which we need — let’s go a little bit further and put the kitchen where it belongs, and that is where we serve the kids,” Montague said.

He said increasing requirements for physical education class time also played into the decisions.

“If you ask the principals, they will tell you it’s actually impossible to meet the P.E. requirements that are coming with our current situation,” he said.

Montague said kitchen equipment across the district is on the verge of failing or becoming impossible to repair because parts are no longer made.

Richard Rothweiler, a senior architect with AC + Co., said the construction project will take care of both problems of inefficiently used space and failing equipment.

“All the equipment will be brand new and up-to-date, energy efficient, of the right size, and of the right capacity so everything could be handled correctly,” he said.

Oakdale’s multipurpose room will be built where the covered play area is now, using the existing roof and side walls.

A new covered play area will be built on the playground.

The old kitchens in both schools will be converted into classroom space, and other areas will be remodeled for P.E. offices, equipment storage and other uses.

At Lyle, the addition will be located in the space between the gym and covered play area.

The design allows the school to open the gym and/or multipurpose room to the public for events while closing off access to the rest of the school.

Both schools will have their front entrances remodeled to add extra security. Rothweiler said a second set of doors will be added to restrict access to the buildings.

“You can exit, but you won’t be able to get in unless you are buzzered in,” Rothweiler said.

Cost estimates for the work haven’t been penciled out yet, but Rothweiler said he wants to work quickly to get the projects out to bid. He said construction companies are increasingly busy, and that means costs are going up.

“If there’s any indication in our office, we are the busiest we’ve been in 10 years. Everybody is building,” he said. “We are working really hard to get these things out to bid right away for start of this summer construction.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved a two-year contract extension with Mid-Columbia Bus Company for transportation services.

• Appointed Linda Fox to the district’s budget committee.

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