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updated: 12/18/2012 5:08 PM

Stevenson High inks $505,000 deal with Pepsi

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  • Video: Stevenson switching to Pepsi


Stevenson High School's beverage machines will exclusively stock PepsiCo products starting next month, under a new deal that will boost revenue for the school.

The contract means drinks made by Coca-Cola no longer will be offered in the campus' vending machines or in snack bars. Likewise, Coke drinks won't be sold at athletic events or other activities.

The District 125 board approved a five-year contract with Pepsi on Monday night. The company will pay the Lincolnshire school $505,519 during that contract for the right to offer its drinks to students, staffers and visitors.

Coca-Cola had offered $309,679 for the same privilege.

"I'm sure it'll be a sticky subject for some Coke aficionados, but I can give you 505,000 reasons why this is a good thing for Stevenson," Stevenson spokesman Jim Conrey said.

The switch will occur during winter break, which runs Dec. 24 through Jan. 6.

Coca-Cola's five-year contract expires Jan. 1. PepsiCo had the contract for 20 years before Coke took over in 2008, Conrey said.

Vending machine sales have decreased dramatically since the 2005-06 term, officials said.

That year, the school sold more than 10,000 cases of PepsiCo products, according to a memo. Only 4,000 cases of Coca-Cola products were sold during the first year of its contract with the school.

Officials attribute the decline to three causes:

• The absence of Gatorade, a drink brand owned by PepsiCo.

• An enrollment decline at the school.

• The school's adherence to American Beverage Association guidelines and recommendations that seek to limit school-age children's intake of sugary drinks.

At Stevenson, that's meant classic Coke and regular Mountain Dew haven't been available, Conrey said.

Sixteen vending machines will be replaced as part of the switch, Conrey said. All but two are in public spaces.

To limit students' sugar intake, at least some of the machines will have timers that prevent purchases during the school day, Conrey said.

An unscientific Daily Herald survey of Stevenson students didn't turn up any who were particularly concerned about the pending change.

During a lunch period Tuesday, few students bought drinks from any of the three soda machines in a commons area near the indoor pool and an auditorium. Many drank bottled water brought from home.

After buying a bottle of grape-flavored Powerade Zero from a machine Tuesday, senior Gavin Hornak said he doesn't have a preference between Coke or Pepsi products.

"Brand doesn't bother me," he said.

Junior Alyssa Blumfelt doesn't mind the pending change, either.

"I personally enjoy Pepsi products," Blumfelt said after she bought a Coke at the Grub Hub lunch area.

Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have similar contracts with other Lake County schools.

Coca-Cola's deal with Libertyville High netted the school $10,350 in the 2012 fiscal year, Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 spokeswoman Mary Todoric said. Pepsi's arrangement with sister school Vernon Hills High resulted in $22,998 in revenue in the same year, she said.

Mundelein High has an exclusive contract with Coca-Cola, although a healthy nutrition program at the school means no sodas in the machines. The machines are disabled during the school day, too.

The contract pays the district $10,000 annually, business manager Gary Lonquist said. The school also gets a percentage of the sales. That generated an extra $2,427 last year, Lonquist said.