10/3/2013 8:38:00 AM Former Fuddrucker's is now JTED culinary school
Students in the Mountain Institute Culinary Arts program practice cooking eggs over easy on Monday, the first day in their new digs at the former Fuddrucker’s restaurant in Prescott Valley. From left are juniors Cordell Crise and Christian Patterson with instructor/Chef Esther Flannigan.
Trib Photo/Sue Tone
The Fuddruckers restaurant in Prescott Valley closed its doors in late March.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Mountain Institute students in the Culinary Arts program have the run of a professional building suited for learning how to prepare, cook, and serve meals - the former Fuddrucker's restaurant in Prescott Valley.
Students previously attended classes on the east campus of the Humboldt Unified School District offices since the program began three years ago. It is one of a dozen programs offered to students from all seven Yavapai County school districts through the Joint Technical Education District.
"The cafeteria at Humboldt is designed for mass production. This here is more in line with industry experience," said Leon Hanhardt, JTED instructional services director, of the new facility on Monday.
JTED operates two Culinary Arts programs: the one housed at the former restaurant is a "central campus," and one exists on the Chino Valley High School campus. Both have seen an increase in enrollment, leading JTED officials to look for larger lodgings. Chino Valley's program has 113 students currently enrolled, compared to 88 this past year; the central campus increased from 34 to 45.
Hanhardt said he expects the new facility would help keep students in the program, as about 75 percent do not continue on with the second year of classes. The "improved program quality" at the restaurant facility better matches the culinary industry, he said.
HUSD charged Mountain Institute 50 cents per square foot for two areas in the east campus cafeteria, about $1,759.50 per month, plus a percentage of utilities and a part-time custodian.
JTED pays Fain Signature Group, owner of the restaurant property located in the Entertainment District, $2,500 per month or 50 cents per foot, said JTED Finance Director Howard Moody. Common area maintenance is another $1,204, with taxes and insurance of $1,616 per month, for a total of about $5,320 to $5,358 per month.
This past year, HUSD also rented two spaces to JTED on the former east campus for the Sports Medicine program. That program is moving later this month to remodeled classrooms in the JTED building at its Centerpoint location off Highway 89A between Prescott Valley and Prescott. The loss of revenue for Humboldt for this program is an additional $1,761 per month.
Prior to July, when state legislators made a change, Arizona JTEDs were not allowed to use classroom space not connected to the school districts' own facilities, Plumb said, adding that he received three comparable quotes, including HUSD's cafeteria, for the culinary arts program.
"It was the same base rent, but the buildings are very different," he said.
The wrestling and training rooms at the east campus gym had stations set up for sports medicine students. The remodeled classrooms at Centerpoint are equipped as a commercial facility, Plumb said, and set up similar to a medical clinic with exam rooms.
Plumb said he had been actively looking at real estate for some time as both the culinary and the sports medicine programs had one-year temporary leases.
"Even the Fuddrucker facility is a temporary arrangement. We are hoping for something permanent. This is just a step up in quality," he said.
Culinary Instructor Stephanie Mahoney said the new building is "bright and exciting." She uses the conference room as a classroom.
"This is our first day in. We're getting our equipment together and unpacking a little at a time," Mahoney said on Monday.
Bradshaw Mountain High School senior Sergio Rios said he hopes to go on to a culinary arts college after finishing high school.
"Food fascinates me. I helped my mom in the kitchen since I was a little kid," he said. "After college I want to work somewhere to use what I learned."
Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Article comment by:
This sounded good, until they released the figures. Should schools support schools, as opposed to spending about double for a similar environment? Poor financial planning by JTED. Facilities are available in the area, but lets spend money on remodeling other buildings. I would think the better use of money would be to expand the program and maintain the current equipment. Something about education first.....