Berkeley (CA) Unified School District has launched its $8.7 million King Dining Commons project, reports the Berkeley Daily Planet. The 14,000-sq.ft. facility is part of a $36 million renovation of the district’s Martin Luther King Middle School campus. It will serve as Berkeley Unified’s new central kitchen, preparing 3,000 hot lunches and 8,000 daily meals for children in 16 school sites.
Originally slated for completion a year ago, it replaces a previous central kitchen at Jefferson Elementary School that had proved inadequate both in terms of capacity and for turning out the kind of meals the district nutrition services department has menued under director Ann Cooper. The $2.3 million in equipment at the new central kitchen includes a blast chiller, steam jacket kettles and walk-in freezers for dairy, meat and produce
Among the programs expected to benefit is the Universal Breakfast initiative, which delivers free breakfasts to all district students in the classroom. When Cooper took over the district’s dining operations in 2003, it served only 58,000 breakfasts, according to the Daily Planet. This year, it is expected to serve 852,000.