To encourage not only eating better food but eating in general, the new Wave Rider Café next to Thurston Middle School’s lunch lines will offer students grab-and-go selections for quick access to healthier foods.
The school board unanimously approved spending $113,130 Tuesday to install the café next to the school’s kitchen and outside lunch windows by awarding the contract to lowest bidder De La Riva Construction, Inc., of Fullerton.
“When we provide students easier access to food they’re more likely to take advantage of eating anything,” said Ted Doughty, the district’s facilities, grounds and construction director. “Kids, particularly at that age or even high school, aren’t necessarily as interested in the food as much as they are in socializing.”
Rather than standing in lines at the pick-up windows and being handed their food, kids will be able to walk inside the Wave Rider Café, pick out fresh but packaged food, including fruit and vegetable salads, as well as whole fruit. “They’ll get in there quickly, put their hands on exactly what they want, get through that line, pay for it and out the door,” said Doughty. Hot food lines serviced by kitchen cafeteria staff will still be offered at the windows.
The Wave Rider Café menu is the result of input from students and parents requesting healthier choices, including fresh salads and whole fruits, according to the district’s report.
The café, currently a 13-by-13-foot sports equipment storage room, will offer a clean, modern design with skylights and an ocean motif. Flat ceiling panels will be replaced with skylights and three-dimensional transparent ceiling tiles and mosaic wall tiles evoking waves. Wall board and floor paint will be replaced with a variegated patterned wall tile and commercial tile floors. Flat-screen monitors installed on the walls will display menu items, nutritional messages, scrolling graphics and other possible announcements. Ceramic tiles will carry the wave-rider theme to the outside walls.