Yep, the big renovation to the Highland Park Middle/McCulloch Intermediate School cafeteria is coming to fruition — soon, anyway.
University Park's Planning and Zoning Commission approved the project yesterday afternoon, as our tot-stealing correspondent Sarah Bennett reports. Naturally, that meeting began at the same time as a related school-board meeting, so SHW Group architect Jonathan Aldis then had to dash across town for trustees to approve his firm's roughly $3.4 million design.
The 8,000-6,500-square-foot cafeteria overhaul will be financed with capital projects funds. The plan includes an improved and expanded dining space and kitchen, $700,000 in equipment upgrades, and — because of long-term cost savings and some shared structural elements — a finish-out for several third-floor classrooms.
A few drawbacks: Builders will have to "reconfigure" 11 parking spaces, and the campus could lose some green space, too (I'm a bit unclear on the latter, though, and waiting to confirm as much from SHW). Perhaps more nerve-wracking is the fact that basic construction will end — and school will start — next fall, before the kitchen is actually ready to prepare food. That lag time will last about a month.
In any case, the project still needs City Council approval. Contractor bids are expected by Feb. 28, and trustees must then approve the final building costs for a groundbreaking in early March.