The serving line contains a variety of efficient modules, including a pizza counter, beverage, fruit, and salad or cold food compartments and a rack for snacks.
"This is beautiful," said Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Deborah Sims as she cut the ribbon with Board Member Gary Agopian on Aug. 31 to officially open the cafeteria.
The renovation is still in progress. Artwork and wall murals awash with vivid color and spirited words such as "Antioch," "healthy," "Panthers" and "spirit" will fill in the spaces between Panther paws already painted in, including an 8-foot hanging circle in the middle of the dining area.
"I'm really pleased," said Agopian. "The students deserve something like this. When it's completely done, I think it will make up for a great dining atmosphere."
"(AHS Director of Services) Peggy Stevenson and staff did an incredible job," Sims said. "This is a place for students to come and take a lot of pride from. There is so much of the school spirit in the coming art, in the neon signs. There's a lot of creativity. It's really an example of how our department is supporting schools and kids toward a beautiful campus."
Stevenson discussed how the renovation project came about and proceeded. "A lot of units did not work anymore," she said. "The biggest challenge was timing. We couldn't work at it until after school. The biggest reward, though, is that the kids will feel good about their school."
Stevenson thanked her team for making the renovations possible: project manager Anthony Continente, ISI designer Diane Kemple, Justin Farrell of All Surface Painting, and the AHS Operations and Maintenance crew.
"I think this is exciting," said Principal Louie Rocha, lining up for his lunch of pizza, salad and an apple. "It's like a renaissance of sorts being here in the high school cafeteria with all these terrific magicians that provide this magic so that our students will be provided lunch. This is teamwork between the school services and the school district staff.
"I believe that this renovation is part of our plan to provide our students with a safe and beautiful environment. We are opening up three different locations for meal service now. We are also fencing up our perimeter so we can preserve the beauty of our school. I believe that a beautiful environment promotes a positive school environment."