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High School Media Center Redesign
High School Media Center Redesign
Tom Mulligan
Wednesday, January 08, 2020

If you have ever been in the Arcola High School media center, you were probably very impressed with the design and feel of the space.  The contractors and school staff that planned the space in 2001 did an awesome job of creating a look that would stand the test of time and a feel that really supports student learning.  Believe it or not, we are coming up on almost 20 years of use.  The district had purchased wonderful furniture that has held up well over those 20 years but the day-to-day use has begun to take a toll!  In addition, the way media centers are used by students and staff has also changed over that 20-year period.  As a result, the high school media center will soon be seeing a transformation that will bring the space up to 2020!

Funding the Renovation

Thanks to the generous support of The Libman Company, the school has been planning for this renovation for the last nine months or so.  In 2019, the Libman Company donated $140,000 to the Arcola School District.  Those funds have been used and will be used for the following: annual senior scholarships; to help offset dual credit fees for students; tuition reimbursement for high school teachers obtaining their master’s degree in their content area (this allows for free dual credit for students); support of the Project Lead the Way Engineering program started in 2019-2020; and now the media center refresh!  The district will spend $45,000 in funds donated by The Libman Company for the renovation.  The estimated total renovation will be around $65,000.  The additional funds are coming from the regular school district budget.

Goals that Drove the Planning

When planning for the renovation, the district staff wanted to ensure that the new design and furniture supported the district vision for learning.  As result, the design focused on the following:

1. Creating different spaces within the overall space that allowed for both individuated learning and study but also for student collaboration.

2. Creating different sections within the entire space that focused on different purposes.

3. Using a variety of furniture options that supported the different sections in the media center.

4. Using furniture and designs that support flexible learning and a more adult-learning (college atmosphere) approach.

5. Creating an area that supported the makerspace concept (focus on student centered inquiry).

6. Creating a space so appealing, it becomes the hub of activity for the high school students!

What will the Renovation Include?

The new layout for the media center will maintain most of the current infrastructure and carpeting.  The only change to the infrastructure will be in the room that is currently used for storage and small meetings (located in the southeast corner). That space is currently not really used by students.  The Arcola maintenance staff will install several windows in that room, which will allow for student use.  This will become an area for makerspace work.

There will be a pretty substantial reduction in the number of bookcases used to store books. There will still be a lot included in the libraries’ collection but the students use a library inter-loan program a lot now (where books a brought in each week) and obviously use a lot of online resources.  Most of the bookcases will be focused on the north area of the media center creating a specific area for reading and individual study. 

There will be two areas located on a couple walls in the space to allow for student collaboration.  One will be a booth area.  The second will be an interactive table that will hold up to six students. Both of those areas will be supported by an interactive television for projecting and group projects.

All of the current tables and chairs that are in the space are being replaced with a variety of table and seating options.  All of the tables and chairs that go with them will be on rollers, which will allow items to be moved around easily.

Summary

All of the new furniture has been ordered with a tentative delivery date in March.  The district is hoping to have the furniture installed over spring break.  The installation of the windows by the maintenance staff will most likely occur in early summer.  The school district would again like to thank The Libman Company for their incredible support of the students in the Arcola School District.  The district is excited to provide a new and updated space for the junior high and high school students!  For a complete look at the design and some of the furniture that will be included, click on this link: Design and Furniture