Cal High kitchens get an upgrade

Project designed to expand facility should be done in April


Ryan Syms

Constrution workers expand Cal High’s kitchen, a $2 million project expected to be completed in April.

San Ramon Valley Unified School District is remodeling Cal High’s kitchen in the commons to expand it and provide an upgrade to 10-year-old appliances. 

The construction project started in Octotber 2021 and is expected to be completed in April, according to Rick Kendrick, who supervises the construction. The budget for the construction project is $2 million.

“The project scope is modernization of the existing kitchen, adding a freezer, converting the loading dock for improved access, installing a canopy at the loading dock, and ADA access improvements,” Kendrick said.

There are several reasons for the remodeling, including expansion and general improvements. 

“The kitchen and food prep area is very old and definitely needs to be upgraded,” assistant principal Jeffrey Osborn said.

Cal Child Nutrition Manager Elaine Esguerra said the district also will be adding and expanding more appliances so food can be made fresh on campus.

“We don’t have the equipment to make the food because of the construction,” Esguerra said. “There is a plan for us to do cooking from scratch once it’s up and running.”

During the construction, Cal has a modified food menu in comparison to other high schools in the district because of the limited options, Esguerra said.

While the kitchen is being remodeled, the food preparations for brunch and lunch have been moved to a different location.

“The food prep people or the lunch ladies are being moved to a new office for prep,” Osborn said.

The district had planned of to move lunch prep and the lunch ladies before starting construction, which made the transition over to the new office easy, Esguerra said.

“This [new office for prep] used to be a storage for the central kitchen,” Esguerra said. “We had to move everything out of the storage and put it in containers.” 

The containers being used to hold the equipment are located near the back of the school and are used to create space for the lunch preparations. 

The temporary facility has portable refrigerators and warmers to help food stay fresh or heat it up.

Although the construction workers are usually on campus from early in the morning to around 2:30 p.m., students and teachers are not disturbed by the noise of construction.

“I’ve seen the construction and it hasn’t affected me at all,” sophomore Michael Tokar said. “I’ve just seen it when I’m in the area.”

Physics teacher Fredrick Wafula’s classroom is located on the second floor of the Science building, right next to the construction site, but he agrees that the disturbance is minimal.

“The back door is always locked, so we normally can’t hear a thing,” Wafula said. “Sometimes I look out the window to see what’s going on, but it doesn’t affect my class.”

Esguerra said the district is extending the kitchen not only for Cal’s use, but also for the central kitchen’s use.

“The central kitchen delivers food for all the elementary sites,” Esguerra said. “There are two different crews, one for people working for the central kitchen and one for the Cal High food.”

The central kitchen staff makes and prepares food in the morning. The food is then delivered to various elementary schools in the district.