AVTEC cafeteria, kitchen remodeled
Heidi Zemach | For The LOG
New cafeteria chairs, flooring, painted walls, windows and energy-efficient lighting greet incoming AVTEC students.
This fall AVTEC students will enjoy a remodeled cafeteria with spanking new floors, paint, a bright arrays of new windows, energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, a new door and entrance, and much more. The $1.2 million summer remodel was the final iteration of a multi-year effort by Alaska’s Vocational Technical Center that began with the construction of the new Culinary Arts Building, and progressed to include the demolition of the former culinary building, which had sat vacant, and finally, the existing cafeteria and kitchen remodel.
The cafeteria’s kitchen also received more energy-efficient refrigerators, freezers and coolers. The bakery was completely reconfigured, and has new ovens and stoves, and new hood ventilation/fire suppression systems. There’s also plenty of new stainless steel in the dish room, which is now more spacious and features a new dishwasher.
“We should see significant energy savings as a result of the work,” said AVTEC President Fred Esposito. But that wasn’t the main reason for the upgrade, he stressed. Rather, it’s because after about 35 or more years in operation, serving thousands of students, the facility was worn out. Some of the appliances were past their useful life, beyond repair, had become inefficient. Certain areas, such as the dish room, suffered water damage, soft walls, and falling wall tiles, and was congested for the students.
Esposito couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the remodel, which was only recently completed, just in time for the incoming students. His sentiments were echoed by his culinary arts staff, and by Jim Minsky, of Sysco Food Service, who supplies food to numerous businesses up and down Seward Highway.
“It’s one of the finest, and updated facilities that I’ve ever come across up and down the highway from Anchorage into Seward and Cooper Landing,” he said. “I mean they’ve got all of the walk-in freezers, the walk in coolers, all of the equipment that anybody in the kitchen could ever need to make, or do whatever they would like to do. They’ve got everything!”
Orion Construction, of Wasilla did the construction work. The remodel design was by N’ Vision, the firm that also designed the new Culinary Arts building. Funding came from the State of Alaska. The summer demolition funding came both from the State of Alaska, and from the federal government’s Economic Development Administration.
Heidi Zemach | For The LOG
The new set of stoves can be used for baking a number of different items in the newly remodeled AVTEC cafeteria bakery.
New generations of vocational students will be able to look forward new dormitory, the vocational institutes’ newest big project. The first design team meeting for the new student dormitory was set for Monday as well. With a $16 million allocation of state funding, the project’s completion date is January 2014.
Close to 200 students have been arriving to start AVTEC classes, which began Monday, Aug. 20. Twelve students from the Seward/Moose Pass area have enrolled for the fall semester, continuing the trend of strong local enrollment, according to Esposito.
There are typically 16 new and 19 returning Culinary Arts students in that department, Esposito said. AVTEC has hired two new cooking instructors, Jamie Hall and Chip Dunlap. Elizabeth Johnston, (formerly Fackler), has been promoted to department head, replacing Kevin Lane who is now employed at Chinook’s. Also, J.C. Petrosius was promoted to maintenance foreman, and Terry Federer was promoted to maritime instructor.