The Colonial School District hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on March 4 for Phase I of the Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) renovation project. The highlight of Phase I is a new central cafeteria located near the building's main lobby.
The cafeteria was built in what was a little-used open courtyard and has added 16,700 square feet to the building. The majority of the addition, 11,000 square feet, comprises the main seating area that can accommodate up to 600 students at one time.
Until now, PWHS has used two cafeterias, one at each end of the building. The merging of the two cafeterias, two kitchens and two kitchen staffs has increased efficiency and reduced costs. Having only one cafeteria is also a hit with students.
"I love the new cafeteria, said junior Gabi Isaac-Herzog. "It has an amazing atmosphere. It's more open and 'airy', and tons of natural light comes in. It's much nicer to have a variety of sizes, shapes, and locations of tables as opposed to the long rows of rectangular ones that prevented you from having conversations with more than just a few people around you. Overall, I think it's a wonderful change that will be appreciated by generations of students to come."
The new cafeteria features a "scatter serve" system that operates more like a food court, allows for more menu variety and eliminates traditional single-file cafeteria lines.
"The new cafeteria couldn't be more different from the old one. It is substantially quicker," said senior Sydne Klein. "Scatter-serve allows you to avoid long lines and evenly distributes the number of places to purchase food items. I enjoy the opportunity to select from a wide variety of seating arrangements and food options."
The new cafeteria also features an open-air courtyard to provide students the opportunity to eat outside in nice weather. Electronic device charging stations located at seats along the cafeteria walls offer students another convenience.
An additional benefit of the new cafeteria is the freeing of the space occupied by the current eating areas. The cafeteria at the west end of the building is currently being renovated and will eventually be home to the training and fitness areas, as well as physical education classrooms. The cafeteria at the east end of the building, also currently under renovation, will be maintained as an open utility space.
Phase I of the renovation also provided new locations for the school store, Tru-Mark Financial Credit Union Branch Office, offices for security staff, administrative offices, rest rooms, meeting spaces and three classrooms.