Lufkin Middle School Cafeteria Manager Rose Castillo says the new LMS cafeteria is now three times bigger than the one she was working in before the holidays.

“I love it,” Castillo said as she instructed her staff on how to use the warmers for pizza. “It’s much more uniform.”

Today was a soft opening for the new LMS cafeteria that was part of the $75 million bond the community voted for in 2018. The LMS Student Nutrition staff cooked lunch for the Student Nutrition Services staff and Admin team. Tomorrow will be the real test when the students arrive.

According to LMS Principal Andres Mijares the new cafeteria will hold approximately 525 students at one time. An outdoor seating area will open in the fall with the completion of phase three of the construction.

“It’s phenomenal,” Mijares said as he looked around the bright, new cafeteria. “This provides our kids with what they deserve — the best Lufkin has to offer!”

Mijares said he’s also excited about the new connecting hallway and the main office area that he and his staff moved into yesterday. He did mention that parent pick up will remain the same until the front is complete in about a month or so.

Student Nutrition Services Director Amanda Calk said that the soft opening helped with the logistics of the serving line and kitchen area. She said that the architect at GLS Architecture, Courtney Kelly said that this is the largest kitchen they have ever designed. Calk along with GLS architects and members of her SNS staff toured other cafeterias in the Dallas area.

“We toured Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district who has this same set up,” Calk said. “We have the same amount of students. It was designed by Foodservice Design Professionals. I am very pleased with the outcome.”

Calk said the students will have a limited menu the next couple of days to get them acquainted with the logistics of the new cafeteria.

Photos by: SHEILA ADAMS/Lufkin ISD