Next year, students at Dothan High School and Dothan Preparatory Academy will have access to mobile food carts offering pre-packaged meals, snacks, and beverages away from the cafeteria.

With consolidation of the junior high and high school, more students will be packed into each school, creating the need to have access to an alternative to the typical school lunchtime structure and dining options.

Tonya Grier, director of the child nutrition program for the school system, said that lines in cafeterias can already be long with the current amount of students at both locations. So, she began exploring the idea of food carts after seeing the option at workshops.

“We hope it will keep the lines moving so that students actually have enough time to sit down and eat,” she said.

Officials also hope the carts will be a solution to overcrowding in the cafeteria areas. The new Dothan High cafeteria reaches capacity at around 380 students, while Dothan Prep can hold around 290 at one time.

“We are still working that out with the principals to figure out where they are going to let the kids eat outside the cafeteria,” she said.

With the cart, there will be more cold “grab-and-go” pre-packaged meals like salads, sandwiches, snacks, and beverages. Traditional hot meals will still be served in the cafeteria.

Grier’s office worked with students in grades 6 through 11, creating menu advisory committees to get feedback on meals to be served at the carts. Student panels took part in taste-testing in May.

Students recommended additional sauce, dressing, and dip flavors for the sandwich wraps, suggested addition and/or removal of ingredients, and also recommended potential menu items they’d like to see offered.

Grier added that CNP is looking into offering a la carte items as well.

All the meals available at the food carts are eligible for the free/reduced lunch program.

The Dothan City School board approved the lowest bid to provide the meal carts from Moore-Warren Equipment Company for $19,892 at last Thursday’s board meeting.

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