Wednesday, July 29, 2015

'Center for Inspiration' takes shape


Wednesday July 22, 2015 4:32 PM

With three weeks until school starts, Walnut Springs Middle School's new media center, called the Center for Inspiration, is getting close to completion.

The contractor, GHM Inc., is working hard to finish up the drywall, painting, sealing, flooring and furnishings.

The $374,538 renovations were approved by the school board Feb. 9 and when finished, the space will be a multimedia center for art, music and literature.

The multimedia center will have a "coffee-shop, Panera Bread type feel," according to school district Director of Facilities Jeff LeRose.

Students can opt to sit in pub-style chairs, couches, booths or even inside a round bookcase.

LeRose described the space as a successor to the popular Academic Enrichment Center, 336 S. Otterbein Ave., which received the prestigious 2015 Apex Learning Award of Excellence this spring.

"We are piloting this coffeehouse-style media center and we hope it provides more options for facilitating learning," said LeRose.

A smartboard plus six monitors will be incorporated into the space, with one monitor being in a fireplace-type setting.

Connected to the center is a Maker Space, which is like a fabrication laboratory where students can design and build almost anything.

The design of the Maker Space features a sharp diagonal wall and on the ceiling of the Center for Inspiration is an outline of a guitar.

"We want to provide visual interest in the space so it becomes a vibrant and exciting space for learning," said LeRose.

He explained by going beyond the usual rectangular classroom and incorporating curves and angles, it was possible to create more visual interest.

Additionally, in the back corner will be a small room for a television studio and a green screen so students can star and produce WOLF-TV.

In the back, a glass garage door from the multimedia center opens into a classroom. The classroom features large glass windows, to help "bring the outdoors indoors," according to LeRose.

Bookcases will be along the perimeter walls and in the middle will be a cybercafe.

A glass door opens up to a new outdoor learning environment that will feature brick wall seating, tables and chairs.

"We want to make spaces that students can embrace and feel inspired by," said LeRose