New M-P food commons lights up lunch

MARYSVILLE – Everyone at Marysville-Pilchuck High School seemed happy about the opening Wednesday of the new food commons.

But none more than DECA teacher Will Hill.

“We’re at the heartbeat of the campus now,” he said with a big smile as he fist-bumped one of his students in the student store.

Hill said the two biggest sellers on opening day were espressos and frozen yogurt, two items that weren’t on the menu previously.

He said sales were about double what they normally have, and that he expects even more growth as students find out what more is available.

“We’re going to be opening up before school as well” in coming weeks, he said, so students can get morning coffee, come inside and be warm.

Along with that, the store has an opening into the gym as well. It will soon be selling items out of there for wrestling matches and basketball games.

“We want to provide real-world experience” to the 20 students who work in the store, he added.

Two students getting that experience are juniors McKenna Dahl and Alyssa Lehner. They are the only DECA students so far to take the two-hour training on how to use the fancy new espresso machine. Neither has barista experience, although they both have thought about it.

Alyssa said the old student store had such a machine, but it didn’t work.

“We never used it because it was too expensive to fix it,” she said.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen area, operations manager Leonore Schoen said her staff loves the new equipment. “We can offer more cultural diverse food once we get acclimated” to all that’s available, she said, mentioning food from India, Mexico, stir fry and pizza.

In particular, Schoen said she liked the skillit and also the box to keep food warm.

“We love the new kitchen. It’s bright, beautiful and friendly,” she said.

Schoen said kitchen staff spent about a week moving into the new facility. But the first time it was used was Wednesday when the kids came back from winter break. So it was trial by fire, so to speak.

“We went right at it,” she said.

M-P Principal Rob Lowry said it seemed like more students were going to lunch to check out the new digs. The new food commons can hold about 500 people for each of the two lunch periods. Lowry said there was only one major glitch on the first day. A line backed out the door because so many students wanted nachos. He said they would probably move that station inside more to avoid that problem in the future.

Even school resource officer Chris Sutherland was smiling about the new facility.

“It’s nice to have them all in one place,” he said.