Lining Up

The commons remodel changed the lunch line; is it better or worse?


Photo: Devin Harrison

Middle school students line up in the commons for a 5-10 minute wait to get their food.

After the commons remodel last summer the entire lower commons has seen many changes. The new commons has brought a new design for the lunch line and movement inside the food serving area.

Over the summer of 2019 UPrep completely remodeled the lower commons. At the opening of the commons, UPrep claimed that the lunch line would be much quicker than it was in the old commons.

“Usually we are able to get everyone through by 11:00,” Director of Middle School Susie Wu said.  Wu along with another teacher runs the lunchline everyday.

During lunch Wu helps with middle school commons care. The commons care staff are members of faculty who keep the upper and lower commons clean and orderly during lunch. Wu explained the latest everyone has gotten through the lunchline is 11:10. This gives every student a minimum of 20 minutes to eat lunch. On most days, the lunch line is at a moderate length concealed in the commons.

“I think the line is too long when it goes out of the commons into the hallway,”  Timmy Castle said. Castle is a current seventh-grader who buys lunch at the Commons Cafe.

According to a Schoology poll about two thirds of middle schoolers buy lunch from the Commons Cafe. This means that about 170 students are buying lunch all at once. The commons care staff allow 10 people from each line to go when they think the line at the hot bar has cleared up.

“Honestly I kind of liked the last commons better,”Castle said, “We had two lines where things weren’t getting out of control.” 

In the old commons, both sides of the serving booths were available. This allowed more flexibility for students. Now the commons has taken away half that self serving space.

Some students like eighth-grader Ari Faulkner disagree with Castle.

“I think It’s moving quicker. In sixth grade, it was just terrible with one line. In seventh grade it improved with two lines. Now with the new commons I feel like I get through a little bit faster. I really like having the one line that splits into two,” Faulkner said.

Even though Faulkner thinks the new commons has improved the lunch line, he thinks there are still things to improve.

“A suggestion I have is to release like three people more often,” Faulkner said. 

Faulkner believes that this will give the commons staff more freedom on deciding when to release students. For example if only three students are needed, then they can be let in instead of waiting for 10 open spots to show up.

Both Wu and Felicia Lindholm, who runs the Commons Cafe, say they are always interested in suggestions to help improve the Commons Cafe and the lunch line.