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Bethel Gets $7 Million For New Cafeteria


Seven million dollars for a brand new kitchen and cafeteria at the Bethel Regional High School survived the governor's veto pen this week. 

BRHS does not have a cafeteria. At lunch, some students sit at tables in the gym while they eat, and others wander the halls.

“But the trouble is the gym at BRHS is used from 6 a.m. in the morning until 8 p.m. at night, including lunch time," said Susan Murphy, who chairs the Lower Kuskokwim School Board.

At lunch, the gym is spilt into two sections. And while some students are eating, some have class on the other side. Murphy says this arrangement is not working for kids.

But the biggest reason for building a new kitchen is to consolidate all the different kitchens the district is presently using.

“You have to have store rooms at each of the facilities. You have to have cooks at each of the facilities. It’s much cheaper to have one central kitchen, with one storage area, where all the meals are prepared and then sent out," said Murphy. 

Some of these kitchens may not even be available for the school district’s use for much longer, Murphy says.

“We are now leasing space from BNC for our immersion school Ayaprun. And that lease includes the lease of the kitchen in the BNC building. However, when that lease is up, we won’t have access to that kitchen anymore. And we need a kitchen."

Murphy says the construction of the building probably won’t happen until next year, but when it does maybe lunchtime will feel more like a lunch break for Bethel students.