Southern Kern Unified School District
Groundbreaking took place recently on the site of Rosamond High Early College Campus’s future cafeteria.
“I can’t say enough about what this project means to the Southern Kern Unified School District,” Superintendent Barbara Gaines said.
Gaines recalled that during the COVID-19 pandemic, when students returned to school and the state’s social distancing requirements were in place, she asked Rawley Davis, director of Maintenance and Operations for Southern Kern, how many students could fit in the high school’s cafeteria. At that time, there were two lunches for the school’s approximately 800 students; today, there are more than 920 students.
“He said, ‘If we space the students as mandated by the California Department of Public Health, you can have 14 kids in that cafeteria at one time,’?” Gaines recalled.
Students would have to show up at 7:30 a.m. and start lunch to get all of the students fed during the day.
“I knew that this project, in my opinion, was one of the most needed projects in Southern Kern,” Gaines said, as the construction machines moved behind her, beeping and growling.
“On a personal note, I am so thrilled to see what they’re doing out there. I don’t really know all the ins and outs of construction but it looks good to me; this is a dream come true, to say it mildly.”
The existing cafeteria is about 1,400 square feet; the new one will be 7,200 square feet and constructed from the ground up. It will have a shaded picnic area with outdoor seating for students to eat lunch outside. There will be large roll-up doors that open up to make it an indoor/outdoor area. The kitchen will have state-of-the-art equipment. The area where students get their meals will have space for double lines and monitors that broadcast helpful nutritional tips and other information.
The total cost is an estimated $15 million. It is projected to open in the first half of 2025. The cafeteria will be modeled after the cafeteria at Design39Campus, or D39C, a transitional kindergarten through eighth-grade school in San Diego. Board members visited different schools in the area when they attended the California School Boards Association annual Education Conference last year.