This Media Center is the Hottest Place on Campus

Find Out Why This Media Center is the Hottest Place on Campus
Posted on 04/30/2019
Students in Media Center

The days of muted colors and shushed voices in the media center at Okeeheelee Middle School are a distant memory after a complete renovation has breathed new life into the space. Walls were removed, murals were painted, board games were stocked and functional furniture was installed as part of an approximately $300,000 makeover, making the media center the hottest place on campus.

In fact, the line at the front door of school to get into the media center was so long that media specialist Julie Greene had to start offering Disney-style fast passes to accommodate the crowd and reward positive learning. “The kids see me drive up in the morning and are begging me to come in,” she said.

The renovation made room for a life-size chess and checkerboard, oversized bean bag chairs, a cafe area aptly named “Slurbs, Burps and Books”, movable furniture that can be configured into functional workspaces, computer stations, and of course, books in both English and Spanish as Okeeheelee hosts an International Spanish Academy choice program. 

“The first thing we had to do was make it bright and inviting,” Greene said. Art teacher Loli Santiago designed full wall murals with inspirational words and bright colors painted by members of the school’s art club.

Probably the best part of the design is the Makerspace area. Under the watchful eyes of colorful Maker Space Monkeys also designed by Santiago, students spend time collaborating on  hands-on creations out of mostly recycled materials. The space also has a 3D printer and a Glowforge Laser printer

“The students need a place to use their imaginations and be creative outside of the classroom,” Greene said.

The possibilities are endless in the new space and Greene is excited to accommodate the plans that teachers have for their class visits to the space. Do you want to engage in a life-size Hungry Hippo game to reinforce a Language Arts lesson? No problem, move the furniture to make way for rolling students and laundry baskets. Need to get the snakes out of Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day? Use your math skills and get creative in the Makerspace.

The media center also features a water bottle filling station to keep students hydrated and reduce the use of disposable water bottles. The project was part of an initiative to reimagine five media centers across the District, with Okeeheelee being the only middle school to receive the upgrade.

Greene still has many plans to continue to grow the space and keep it fresh and fun, but in the meantime she is pleased with the impact it has had overall.

“Okeeheelee is truly a special school, and this is a special place for the students,” she said. “It’s really all about the kids, their creativity and desire to learn.”

 

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