Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)
New Media Center Prepares Students for the Future
School Outfitters gave Sycamore Junior High School many options when it came time to search for new library furniture.
Principal Brian Wallace knew his school needed a change. The library at Sycamore Junior High School wasn’t working. Full of books long out of circulation and décor from a bygone era, it was “not inviting, not warm or welcoming,” he says. The tables and chairs “were extremely old — in good shape, but so heavy and bulky there was no mobility whatsoever. There was no functionality.” Wanting to utilize the space and recognizing the rapid evolution of education, Wallace identified the need: “We began looking at where we’re going to go in the future, and the technology began driving that.”
With a vision of a “highly flexible, highly collaborative” space, Wallace and his team contacted School Outfitters. “We knew what we wanted, but didn’t know what was out there. We came across School Outfitters and saw some great products at a cost that was conducive to us,” he says. Angela Webb, School Outfitters’ director of sales, explains that the company strives to “be a partner for educators” and provide learning environments that excite and engage students. Webb listened to Wallace’s vision, providing suggestions and samples until his team found the solution they were looking for.
After a summer installation and highly anticipated big reveal, the media center has been a resounding success. Full of lightweight, mobile desks and chairs designed for group configurations, Wallace said the space is at capacity almost every day — something he’s never seen in his nine years with the school. When the center closes for two weeks for testing, he notes, “people get grumpy — they’re disappointed because the space isn’t available.”
Most importantly, the media center sets up students to succeed. Thought of as a “hub for technology and collaboration,” it supports “the way students learn now. It looks different, it feels different, and [the students] are able to incorporate collaborative skills with other kids, because that’s what’s being reflected at college and career levels, and we feel obligated to prepare our kids for that.”
This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of School Planning & Management.