Winter is close: Cafeteria quarters are closer

As winter gets closer so will the quarters in the Highlands cafeteria. Lack of space has never been a problem for the Highlands High school cafeteria until recently, and now students are feeling the pressure.

The cafeteria at Highlands was built to have an open campus lunch. Up until the 1990’s, students could drive anywhere they wanted. This was done away with because of the liability that came with the possibility of student’s getting in a car crash.

Since the groundwork for the cafeteria relied heavily on the presence of open campus lunch, when that was somewhat taken away this year the cafeteria has been left overcrowded and ineffective.

Although some measures have been taken to reduce overflow such as the Multi-purpose room, Jeff Schneider assistant principal, said, “They are just Band-Aid fixes.” In the past 5 years, the enrollment at highlands has grown from 935 to 1,029, almost a 100-student growth. A number of students large enough to push the envelope on the number of people the cafeteria can hold.

The restrictions this year that prevent students from eating in the halls and the closing of Twisty Grill has heightened the number of people flooding into the cafeteria even further. Bree Mohr, junior, said. “I’m walking around for 5 minutes trying to find a seat, I’m wasting time I could have been using to eat.”

As the weather gets colder, the few people who did eat outside will migrate inside, adding more people to the overflowing cafeteria. Students like Mohr are feeling frustrated that the 35 minutes they have for lunch is being eaten away at by the time it takes to find a seat. That 5 extra minutes added to her lunch, however, is actually the problem.

Schneider said, “Teachers that are giving 5 extra minutes is the problem.” The strict schedule for lunch was put in place for this reason. Even an overlap of 5 minutes can offset the schedule.

Alix Tibbs, sophomore, said, “It’s so crowded at lunch and no matter where we go we get yelled at.” As students are growing more frustrated Schneider hinted that an end may be in sight.

Schneider said, “Administration is aware of the problem.” “We are looking to change the cafeteria but it may cost the district millions of dollars.” Schneider outlined many changes to the cafeteria that may happen farther down the road. His optimism was clear when talking about the future for the cafeteria.

While there may not be any immediate fixes right now, the HHS administrative staff is aware and looking into how to best solve the problem that students have expressed their frustration with.