Laboratory proves beneficial to students in food preparation


Among food lab improvements are upgraded preparation workstations. || Greg Johnson/TheNews

Olivia Medovich
Staff writer

Last semester the newly renovated food laboratory that houses two courses in the Oakley Applied Science Building was opened for student use.

The courses offered in the food laboratory are Principles of Food Science and?preparation and Experimental Foods. Kathryn Timmons, director of didactic program in dietetics nutrition and senior lecturer along with James “Corky” Broughton, professor of health sciences and human services, initiated the renovations last spring

The original laboratory was built in 1965 and had not been upgraded since.

Susan Muller, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, said the renovation cost $135,000.

Wellness and therapeutic science faculty members collaborated with other universities about similar food laboratory reconstructions to assist with the design format.

The new laboratory was reconstructed to maximize students’ ability to utilize the resources, equipment, supplies and teachers’ assistance.

The renovation includes an updated appearance with new ceilings, floors, windows and eight workstations with modern countertops and sinks.

One workstation is universally accessible, complete with a lower working area, sink and oven for easy access.

The facility also includes a commercial dishwasher and workstation for the instructor to lecture and demonstrate food preparation techniques.

At the time the renovations began, Broughton was the dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services and instrumental in funding the project.

The project, Broughton said, began with the students in mind.

“It needed to be upgraded and it was, for recruitment purposes and for the students that were here,” Broughton said.

Facilities such as these will aid in careers, Broughton said.

“We need to educate them with the newest facility possible. Students were being upgraded to equipment they would use in their future profession,” she said.

Timmons said updating the food laboratory appeals to prospective students looking to attend the University.

“If we have students that come and want to see our facilities and we show them something that hasn’t been changed since 1965 they’re not as likely to want to come here,” she said.

The upgraded laboratory is more efficient and easier for students to work in, Timmons said.

“They no longer have to work in a 1965 outdated facility,” she said. “Before it was very inefficient. There were a lot of things that were torn up and rusty.”

Timmons said upgrading any kind of lab or facility is beneficial to the University because it improves students’ educational environment.

“If students can learn and feel more comfortable in a space then that benefits Murray State University,” she said.

She said students were impressed with the renovations and have given her positive feedback.

“Some students who are older came back and looked in there and said, ‘I wish I could take the class again so I could work in there,’” Timmons said. “They really like it and think it’s so much better.”