Outdoor cafeteria undergoes construction


Photo by Ethan Lachman | Construction for the new upper school cafeteria, which aims to account for the new schedule’s common lunch period for all students, is nearing completion.The cafeteria has an outdoor sitting area nearby and is located near the steps of the Mudd Library.

Tanisha Gunby

In an effort to efficiently provide lunch to the school community,  the administration  decided to build a cafeteria annex at the flag court.

Associate Head of School Laura Ross said that while the school was planning the new schedule, many members of the community were concerned about the common lunch period.

Without the cafeteria annex, the entire student body would be forced to occupy one space when purchasing their food.

“We recognized early on that we had to create options for [people to get lunch] so that they aren’t just standing in lines,” Ross said. “We also knew that we wanted more covered outdoor space.”

President Rick Commons said he hopes the cafeteria annex will help manage traffic flow effectively.

“I think it’s going to be a nicer place to sit and a nicer place than we otherwise would have had to pick up food items quickly,” Commons said. “We are of course trying to make sure that we can have that community lunchtime not be a nightmare for people, but be a dream come true. [We want lunch to] be a time for people to connect with friends and teachers and everybody free at the same time, creating a real community.”

The school has also added a section in Chalmers Hall for students to pick up snacks and drinks between classes, Ross said.

Ross said that once the school transitions to hybrid learning, stickers and signage will be placed in the cafeteria, forcing individuals to stand six feet apart. In addition, adults will regulate the cafeteria to ensure that students maintain social distancing throughout the day.

Katarina Cheng ’21 said she was worried that one cafeteria would not be able to cater to all the students.

“One of my main concerns about the new schedule was the chaos and congestion of the common lunch period, so an extra cafeteria area should be able to fix that,” Cheng said.

Maya Doyle ’21 said she looks forward to using the new cafeteria once classes are held on campus.

“I’m really excited to see how the school is adapting to accommodate the new schedule,” Doyle said. “It’s close to my locker, and I won’t have to walk down and back up the stairs from the patio area. I hope that the cafeteria will allow communal lunch to function efficiently.”