Two weeks into the school year, the cafeteria at the new Linton Springs Elementary School in Eldersburg is still not ready for use because ventilation equipment has failed to meet Health Department standards.
"The ventilation hood doesn't work properly," said Edward F. Singer, assistant director of environmental health with the county Health Department.
Approval of the ventilation system is the last inspection hurdle before the Health Department issues a food-service permit to Linton Springs, Singer said. The equipment is designed to remove smoke from the kitchen.
"The ventilation hood is one of the most complicated systems in a food-service facility," Singer said.
Linton Springs cafeteria workers initially were unable to use the kitchen at the new $8 million school because some kitchen equipment was delivered late.
School officials had hoped the kitchen would be in working order by now, said Eulalia Muschik, supervisor of food services for Carroll schools.
The hood was inspected Friday.
"The problem has not been corrected, and nothing has actually changed," reported Charles L. Zeleski, environmental health director.
Said Muschik, "We're only too happy to get in there as soon as we can."
Since school began Aug. 24, cafeteria manager Trish Armstrong and her staff have been preparing student lunches each morning in the kitchen at South Carroll High School, packing them into coolers and driving them to Linton Springs.
The arrangement has worked well, Armstrong said, but sometimes too many cooks crowd the kitchen at South Carroll High.
"Having three extra people in a high school kitchen does get a little busy," Armstrong said. "We're just really happy that these .. ladies have welcomed us, and everybody's keeping a sense of humor."
Armstrong estimates that she and her staff have been preparing about 80 lunches a day. The sandwich selection usually includes ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, bologna and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and submarine sandwiches.
Carrot and celery sticks, fresh fruit, and cookies complete the meal.
Checking things out
County Health Department sanitarians conducted their first inspection of the ventilation hood in the Linton Springs kitchen Aug. 28, Singer said.
"They lit smoke bombs to see if the hood was pulling the proper amount of air through to do its job," he said.
Singer said school officials had asked for smoke bombs for their own tests on the ventilation hood before scheduling another inspection date.
"They want to make sure they've got it working before they call us back out there again," he said.
A successful inspection can't come quickly enough for Armstrong and her two assistants.
"My staff is very much looking forward to serving the first hot lunch and dirtying the kitchen," she said.
Pub Date: 9/06/98