Although she’s only been cafeteria manager for six years, when Gina Pyles took the position it was like a homecoming for her. All of her kids, now grown, attended Tate Elementary. That’s one reason she’s ecstatic about the upcoming changes to the school.
On days like today she’s especially thankful for the effort the district is making.
“When its cold, like today, even with the all the ovens going it’s still cold,”
The plans have been in motion for a while but a preliminary look at what’s in store for Tate Elementary School is now available. The plans were presented by Rick Little, maintenance director, at the school board meeting held the ninth of this month. At that time, Superintendent Dr. Lula Perry expressed a possible need for a second serving line to accommodate more students.
New plans were drawn up, but in the interim cafeteria personnel have expressed no need for that second line so the plans as originally presented are what will be sent to the state for approval before their funds are added to the mix.
Included are a front entrance directly into the cafeteria, an expansion of the entire cafeteria in both seating and kitchen and a new bathroom area. In addition, the cafeteria will be raised four feet so that the entire school will be on the same level, making accessibility an easier task. Not only will that help handicap children but the possibility of an elevator is being examined so those children can also access the second level of the historical school building.
At the bottom of this story, those plans may be viewed. The first rendering shows a gabled roof which would match the existing school roof but is cost-inhibitive. Also included are exterior drawings showing both a flat-marble façade and a split-faced marble façade. Little explained in an effort to insure the marble work is done correctly, that may need to be handled separately from the building plans so that skilled workers from Blue Ridge Marble Company are used. In addition, the school board is seeking numbers on the cost difference between the two marble options the without delaying the plans being submitted to the state.
The flat marble is what the current school building exterior is composed of and the continuity of aesthetics and the historical value are factors in the choice. But as it’s been communicated to Little the installation of that is now quite costly, thus the need for a solid quote before the board makes a decision on which facing to use.
As stands, the cost of the building upgrades and expansion will be $1.8 million derived from SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) and state funding.
The plans include the ability to serve 550 students daily with a seating area extension from 2500 square feet to 3400 square feet. The kitchen will undergo a substantial expansion itself as it balloons from the state minimum required 1600 feet to 2900 feet. New equipment and a separate HVAC unit for the kitchen are also in the works to replace the outdated equipment they’re now utilizing.
Dr. Perry said her conversations with school personnel revealed school employees are excited about the renovations.
"But most of all the cafeteria workers are excited. They really need an upgraded facility,"
Pyles says she’s most excited about the space they’ll have.
“You know the old saying about having to rob Peter to pay Paul?”
She stifled a laugh as she explained in their kitchen the saying is,