Mt. Vernon Register-News

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July 11, 2014

OBR kitchen upgrade moves forward

OPDYKE — Opdyke-Belle Rive Grade School is in the midst of a $50,000 renovation of its kitchen/cafeteria area that is set to be completed by the end of July.

The upgrade will help the school district meet Health/Life Safety Code guidelines related to the location of the kitchen stove.

Also, the remodeled space will have a more sleek, modern look with stainless steel shelves, a new stove, and a walk-in refrigerator and freezer, said Superintendent Debra Blakey.

Half of the project’s cost will be covered by a maintenance grant from the Illinois State Board of Education. The district will pay for the remaining portion.

“The main importance is meeting Health/Life Safety Codes because not being in compliance — it’s not in the students’ best interest, the taxpayers’ best interest, (or) the school district’s best interest,” Blakey said. “So we’re taking advantage of this maintenance grant and using the taxpayers’ money wisely to make sure that we do meet codes and are able to keep our students safe.”

According to Blakey, the new kitchen will have a separate room for preparing food. Also, the stove will now be located behind a wall, which puts the district in compliance with the code.

In addition, the school library is being moved into a section of the cafeteria so the space will serve as a multi-purpose room, Blakey said. The cafeteria will also be further away from the kitchen than it was previously.

“We’ve got new appliances, we’re re-routing sewer, we’re re-routing water lines — it is a complete renovation,” Blakey said.

Most of the original room dates back to when the school was first built in 1921. Early on, the space was used as a gymnasium.

With the renovation, students should be impressed with the cafeteria’s new look, Blakey said.

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