LONG BEACH : Schools Open Food Preparation Facility

The Long Beach Unified School District has opened a $10.6-million food preparation facility to give students more fresh meals.

The 140,000-square-foot Nutrition Center at 3333 Airport Way could also save the district about $1.1 million a year, officials said.

The staff will be able to purchase food in larger quantities and prepare more meals from scratch, food services Director Frank Towers said. The center, built in a former department store warehouse near Long Beach Airport, will also save money by centralizing several aspects of food service--including kitchens, storage warehouses, delivery spaces, large freezers and administrative offices--that had been scattered throughout the district.

About 70,000 meals can be prepared daily at the new facility, which is the size of more than two football fields. Currently, about 63,000 meals are prepared each day for district students, Towers said.

The former kitchen facility, downtown on Pine Avenue, was used mostly for reheating frozen meals.

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