By Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS, SNA President 2016-11-03 23:43:43
Put on Your Hard Hat and Own Your Expertise I LIVE IN A COUNTY WHERE WE ARE SCHEDULED TO OPEN AT LEAST ONE NEW SCHOOL EVERY YEAR UNTIL 2022—and that’s a slower pace from the recent past when we opened three to four schools a year. Whew! That’s why I’m looking forward to reading this issue’s main features on new construction and renovation. I am fortunate to be a trusted member of the design team in my district, but I had to prove myself. My first month on the job, I was asked to walk through a newly opened elementary school with the architect and equipment consultant. I tend to be somewhat direct in conversation, so I had a tough time being tactful in my assessment. It didn’t matter, because I saved the district about $100,000 for each subsequent new design. I had visited many of my 86 school sites by then, and I had observed small and large pieces of equipment sitting idle. I explained to the architect and construction team that school nutrition operations rarely need all of the hot new equipment on the market—instead, we need versatile pieces that perform multiple functions and last well into the future. It is an intriguing opportunity to serve on a site’s renovation/construction team. In SNA’s biennial School Nutrition Operations Report: The State of School Nutrition 2016, close to 80% of responding directors reported being involved in such projects—but more than half stated they had not had any formal training in this area. My experience is the same: learning on the job and asking peers questions about their experiences and recommendations. Our district’s director of construction told me that he expects the school nutrition director to come to the table with a specific vision, knowing what is needed now and 10 years down the road. SNA Vice President Gay Anderson, SNS, shares similar stories. She boldly requested to serve on the team for new construction and renovation. Her expertise was recognized and respected, enabling her vision to be realized—saving her district valuable resources as a result. Have you seized such opportunities? Be courageous, get engaged and resolve to be on the team! In the meantime, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, let me express my gratitude to all of you on the front lines, in the office and to our excellent SNA Headquarters staff. I am thankful for the dedication and hard work each of you puts into nourishing our nation’s children every day. You are the heart of SNA, and I am blessed to be your spokesperson this year.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
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