Cafeteria workers have met the biggest challenge, feeding 900 pupils in 90 minutes.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LEETONIA -- After two weeks in the school district's new $17 million facility, Superintendent Tom Inchak said staff and pupils are settling into "a great, normal school year."
Inchak said he is proud of how well the staff worked together to overcome various obstacles.
A new school means new surroundings, new equipment and, in many cases, new personnel in new positions, Inchak said.
"Everything was handled with lots of skill and patience," he said. "Everyone teamed up to overcome all the newness."
Inchak said there were the usual rough edges of a new school year -- adjustments to bus routes, and pupils searching for new classrooms or struggling to open new lockers -- but cafeteria workers tackled and met the biggest challenge, feeding 900 pupils in 90 minutes.
Employees of the former junior-senior high and Orchard Hill and Washingtonville elementary schools previously had about 300 pupils each. They never worked together to feed everybody at once.
The new cafeteria also has a new electronic system and pupils must present an ID card when going through the food line, he said.
Lunch periods are timed to feed about 300 pupils every 30 minutes. For a few days, lunch periods were slow, but are now operating at a comfortable pace, he said.
Inchak said the interior construction is complete, but for a few adjustments and finishing touches. Exterior work continues and there is a lot of excavating equipment moving around.
For a few days parking lots and driveways were still gravel surfaces, but all now have one layer of pavement. Exterior lighting is at a minimum because not all light poles have been installed.
Inchak said evening open-house sessions this week and next are to end in time for pupils and their families to leave school grounds before dark.
Bus drivers, parents and other motorists driving by the school are adjusting well to new traffic patterns, crosswalks and school zones, he said.
Although all the district's pupils are at one location, there have been no traffic jams.