State Assembly kitchen remodel ready for upcoming special session
When Assembly members arrive for the stadium special session in a week or two, they’ll notice some major changes in the kitchen adjoining their lounge area.
Assembly Chief Clerk Susan Furlong just completed a $30,000 remodel of that kitchen including installation of a commercial gas/electric stove.
Asked why the Assembly needs a commercial kitchen that only gets used for four months every two years, Furlong said the old kitchen just couldn’t handle the needs of the members.
“The stove was shot,” she said. “It’s been having problems for years and, for the volume we cook, your typical residential oven doesn’t keep up.”
Throughout the 120-day regular session and during any special sessions, she said that kitchen turns out a minimum of 60-65 lunches a day. She said it also provides lawmakers with “grab and go” breakfasts and, at the end of session, occasionally cooks the 42 members dinner. It also handles catering for special events in Room 3100 upstairs.
Furlong said she expects there will be some static about the remodel but it was necessary to meet the demands put on the kitchen.
“For lunch, there’s not enough time in the schedule to allow members to go out for lunch and still meet their afternoon committee assignments,” she said adding the same applies to some staff who can’t or don’t feel comfortable leaving.
Assembly members, she pointed out, pay for all the food they receive. They don’t however, pay for the staff to operate the kitchen.
The most expensive part of the project was replacing the stove and related costs. The six burner Wolf stove cost $8,729 and the hood to vent it another $1,848. Installing the gas line (the old stove was electric) added another $8,930.
The tile floor to replace the old carpeting Furlong described as disgusting cost $5,160 and new counter tops $4,161. Materials for the in-house work added another $870.
The total cost of the project: $29,889
A good share of the work was done by LCB staff, which, according to LCB records, took some 370 hours of time.
In-house staff did the demolition, electrical, HVAC ducting for the hood and installation of appliances. LCB’s cabinetmaker built the island in the kitchen and reconfigured the rest of the cabinetry.
The total cost ended up about the same amount of money former Assembly Speaker John Oceguera spent to build and equip an exercise room for Assembly members on the third floor of the Legislative building.
Unlike the exercise room, which reportedly sees limited use, the kitchen will be used daily.
And even the exercise room sees more use than the $15,000 smoking structure built a decade ago on the legislative grounds. That tinted glass out-building, complete with smoke ventilation system, sees no customers and, in fact, is locked to keep the homeless from moving in.
Senate Secretary Claire Clift said she has no plans to remodel that chamber’s kitchen area.