The Springfield (Mass.) school district has opened a $21 million Culinary and Nutrition Center that will serve 30,000 students daily.
The Springfield Republican reports that the 62,000 square-foot center replaces a much smaller site, and will focus on fresh, nutritious meals for students, using fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms.
"What we're going to be able to do here is put out the best possible product, a nutritious breakfast and lunch and even dinners now in many of our schools, for our kids that is second to none in the entire country," says Daniel Warwick, superintendent of schools.
The center is the culmination of a cooperative effort in planning and financing by the city of Springfield, its School Department, the Sodexo food service company, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The city provided a $14 million bond for the project, and the cost will be paid back over 20 years with funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sodexo also contributed funds.
Mark J. Jeffrey, district manager for Sodexo, says planning for the center began 10 years ago.
"What started as a vision to improve the quality of foods served in our breakfast program has resulted in the building of the culinary nutrition center designed to improve not only food quality but the total student and community school food service experience," Jeffrey says.