New culinary program space opens at Northside HS

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Northside High School opened two new commercial grade learning kitchens at the start of the 2018-2019 school year, giving a boost to the school’s popular culinary arts magnet program.

The new culinary classrooms are part of a $66 million, multi-phase renovation project taking place at the school as part of HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program. The Northside project is two-thirds complete.

The modern culinary classrooms feature new professional ovens, workspaces and equipment, a walk-in freezer and cooler, and a flexible learning space that can be transformed into a restaurant-style dining room.

“We love the new space,” Culinary Arts Instructor David Hill said. “It gives our students a true sense of what professional kitchens in the real world will look like.”

Hill said that interest in the program has dramatically increased because of the new space, and student enrollment is up by almost a third compared to last year.

“It’s amazing. We have more space and better equipment,” said Mylesha McCardell, a senior in her fourth year in the magnet program. “The kitchen was crowded before and only half of the class could work while the other half would sit out. Now there is room for us all to work, and we have the equipment we need.”

The kitchens are centrally located at the school with large viewing windows allowing other students and staff to see the student chefs in action.

“Students are showing greater pride in their work and are more engaged,” Culinary Arts Instructor Jennifer Cadengo said. “We’re able to provide more hands-on learning opportunities now. Students who complete this program can go to any restaurant, hotel, or conference center and feel right at home and thrive in the industry.”

Other work completed at the school includes new administrative spaces for the Grad Lab and Community in Schools programs and additional classrooms and administrative spaces for assistant principals and counselors on the third floor.

“It’s been so exciting seeing our historic school transform into this modern, 21st century campus,” Northside Principal Cecilia Gonzales said. “We’ve been able to see the progress as it happens, and we get to move right in and enjoy the new spaces as they are built.”

The next construction phase includes a girls’ locker room, gym, and fine arts wing, with the entire project expected to wrap up in the third quarter of 2019.

Construction is underway at more than a dozen campuses across the district. More than 70 percent of all projects are complete, and that number is expected to top 80 percent by the end of 2018.

Follow @Build_HISD on Twitter for the latest construction updates on the 2012 Bond Program and school construction across the district.