Herricks High School Café + Commons

In New Hyde Park, New York, BBS worked closely with school administrators of the Herricks Public School District to plan, design and renovate the district’s aging high school cafeteria and to provide a new dining and commons space that would meet the needs of students and school administrators for decades to come. The multi-year project represented a portion of the district’s $29.8 million school bond program to modernize and upgrade district facilities, approved by voters in December 2016.

A typical school cafeteria was always a facility to “grab a quick bite” – a choice that was affordable for both students and the school district. On the other hand, today’s school cafeterias function more as “commons areas” or “social hubs,” and aim to facilitate personal contact and social interaction between students. As such, they must meet the latest technological requirements while being fully capable of preparing and serving food which is appealing to students who frequent trendy restaurants and coffeehouses. For school administrators, cafeterias must be able to function as technologically advanced, highly flexible (program) spaces to meet the evolving needs of 21st-century education.

Consequently, in designing of the $3.95 million café/commons and kitchen renovation project, BBS paid close attention to creating a dining environment which rivals any commercial dining experience – from the color palette, material selections, and furnishings to lighting, equipment and food presentation. Serving nearly 500 meals each day, the café/commons is equipped with full Wi-Fi internet capabilities and built-in audio-visual systems and wide-screen TV’s located along the serving line – key for multi-use presentation of daily menus, health tips, and school announcements.

BBS’s design sensitivity to the adjacent building areas, library, and other school programs increased the café/commons space’s effectiveness and functionality. By using glazed wall assemblies along the perimeter, BBS was able to visually “open” the elongated space into the adjacent corridor and the outdoor courtyard beyond, deliberately turning the café into a “social hub” and meet-up spot.

The construction of the new 5,050-SF café/commons, which is physically separated into (2) dining areas by a 300-SF “glazed-box” private dining room with folding glass walls; the new 1,650-SF kitchen with adjacent food prep and office spaces; new serving line; and all support/storage areas began in the late spring of 2018. Construction of the kitchen and serving line required that the existing systems be taken completely off-line during the summer months to make way for new utility upgrades, equipment, and other infrastructure. By working closely with the construction manager on site, BBS was able to pro-actively manage the complex phasing and scheduling of this food service renovation project.

Project Facts


  • 2019 American School & University | Educational Interiors Showcase - Outstanding Design Award