Arizona High School Begins Water Clean Up After Pipe Burst
We all remember high school
lunches, and we all remember that they weren’t exactly anything that were ever
going to win any culinary awards, but things got taken to a whole new level at
Highland High School in Arizona this week, as cafeteria staff had to make meals
from whatever they could following damage from a burst high pressure pipe on January 1.
As water clean up procedures
began, the food service "disaster" team held an emergency meeting
Jan. 2 to develop the plan and set up the temporary cafeteria, said Debbie
McCarron, food-service director for Gilbert Public Schools.
Students ended up eating in a
makeshift cafeteria in the school gymnasium, dining on $2 reduced price lunches
of cold pizza or cold sandwiches. The
school kitchen was a near total loss, and food service staff only had two days
to figure out a way to feed the school’s 2900 students.
Other schools in the district
donated equipment, including heating and refrigeration units. Breakfast and lunch are prepared at nearby
Greenfield Junior High and brought over to Highland for serving.
For the first two days of classes,
Pizza Hut provided 1500 pizza slices a day, and the food staff made peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches. Since computers
were out due to the damage, no charge was made for the meals. Students also had access to cookies and
beverages, and the staff hopes to make other choices available in the coming
Despite the challenges, food staff had the
cafeteria up and running on Jan. 3, when students returned from the winter
"It's going marvelously
well," said Principal Domonic Salce. "The kids have adjusted quite
State health inspectors have been
monitoring operations. The district has
added portable hand-washing sinks in the gym, McCarron said. Four serving
stations are in each corner of the gym, which is about two-thirds the size of
the cafeteria. "It's been amazingly smooth," said Patty Narducci,
Gilbert's secondary supervisor for the food and nutrition department. Tables
and chairs have been set up on a temporary plywood floor sealed with paint so
as not to ruin the basketball court. Extra electricity also had to be brought
in, McCarron said.
The mini-gym is used daily for PE
classes, athletics and events. Some events have been cancelled, and classes
have been moved, Salce said.
"It's been a lot of shifting
and adjusting," Salce said. "We hope that the dining area will be
available soon. We'll cross our fingers that that is sooner rather than
Local water damage restoration
providers have been brought in to assess the damage and begin clean up
operations in the cafeteria.
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