Dec 31, 2013 5:24 PM by Tara Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GREAT FALLS - For the past 30 years Great Falls High School has had an issue with overcrowded lunch rooms, but starting this semester students will have another option to eat.
Great Falls High School Senior Blake Moczygemba said right now the scene in the cafeteria can get chaotic.
"The second the bell rings I dart as fast as possible to get down to the cafeteria before everyone rushes into it," Moczygemba said.
His classmates agree.
"It's very hectic," freshman Sarah Jonasen said. "There's a lot of people going everywhere and the lines, it probably takes 10 minutes, it takes most of your time in the lunchroom to just to get in line and get your food and come back and sit down."
Out of the five lunches, Moczygemba and Jonasen are in one of the largest. There are 750 students and only 200 seats. Next semester however, students will be able to grab food on the south campus at the "Bison Beastro." The "Beastro" will serve sandwiches, wraps, and other cold food.
Principal Jane Gregoire said the new lunchroom will increase seating by nearly 230 seats, allow staff to condense the five lunch periods into two, and lengthen the period from 25 minutes to 35 minutes.
Administrators are hopeful this will keep students on campus during lunch, and in turn, keep them from unsafe situations off campus and keep them from not wanting to come back to school.
"We have done experiments in the past," Gregoire said. "One in more recent history was done at CMR where we found that giving kids too much time at lunch was not a good idea but cutting the lunch time down so far to where it's inhumane, the way they have to eat is also not a good idea, so we're trying to hit that happy medium."
Gregoire said one of the most important reasons however, since 43 percent of the student body is on free or reduced lunches, is it will make sure all students will get a chance to eat.
"Student achievement is very closely tied to how students feel physically as well as emotionally," Gregoire said. "If they are hungry they can't concentrate."
Students like Moczygemba and Jonasen said they are looking forward to a less hectic and calmer lunch.
The new lunch room will not mean a closed lunch for freshman, but will give the school that option in the future.