Creating a School Dining Hall That Feeds the Hearts of Your Community

When charter school leaders consider redesigned schools or new installations, they naturally think of how classrooms, libraries, labs and technology centers to learning. However, if you are making decisions about new facility construction, you should not minimize planning for the dining area. The dining facility can be both a central social gathering space and an alternative learning area. To make the most of a new school cafeteria, consider the following full-course menu of planning ideas.

Community and Segmentation

When working with architects, emphasize the need to create a community-focused but flexible space. The architects will work with a good school contractor Sacramento CA to formulate a shared vision. Students like to dine in groups, so seating should allow for both large and small gathering options. At the same time, create some areas for students who need isolated spaces for studying or personal downtime.

Food Options

Students today want more than vending machine sandwiches and cafeteria casseroles. Give the students many food choices by invest in a kitchen that has the amenities to create gourmet-style nutritious meals. Install lengthy cafeteria steam tables and display cases that can hold a variety of food options. The tables should have room for elegant signs describing the food and its ingredients.


Cafeterias should no longer be cold, austere rooms. Plan for colorful and comfortable seating and tables, colorful wall art and pleasing paint schemes. Avoid industrial lighting; if possible, fill the outer walls with large windows. Investigate sound treatments to diffuse and absorb sounds since cafeterias tend to be noisy places.


If you do purchase flexible, movable furnishings, you can use the cafeteria for other functions. For example, consider installing pull-down screens and projectors for presentations, or technology nooks for study breaks. At the very least, install charging stations and Wi-Fi access points.

The noisy, industrial school cafeteria should be a thing of the past. If you have the opportunity to plan a new dining facility for your school, thinking outside the box will ensure you serve up a space that fills the souls of your students, not just their plates.