Another traditional library is disappearing with a planned $315,000 to $375,000 renovation at Amherst Junior High School.
Bound books will go the way of the dinosaur in favor of digital media at the school library, which will be rebranded as a creative learning center.
A similar project in 2016 overhauled the Steele High School library, where print materials were replaced by downloadable books and big screens where students work in small groups to create presentations and video projects.
That model will be used at the junior high.
A rendering unveiled at a March 19 school board meeting shows the new layout centered around an open class space with tables and soft seating.
The creative learning center is intended to be vibrant with blues, purples, and yellows.
To one side there will be conference rooms for small groups to work, as well as a studio where kids can make videos with the push of a single button.
On the other side of the media center will be a larger classroom — a “makerspace” — where students can plan out projects, such as building robots and drones. There will also be access to an outside courtyard where students can test their creations.
Makerspaces are increasingly being used as public schools put more emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math.
Superintendent Steven Sayers said there is a room designated for just that purpose inside the new Powers Elementary School that will be built on South Lake Street.
Media centers are also gaining in popularity as older students, raised in a culture of technology, focus more on using digital tools. However, traditional library spaces are still used for younger children just learning to read. A library with books is included on the plans for the new Powers.
Bids for the AJHS renovation are due to the school system by April 10.
The Amherst Schools Educational Foundation has agreed to donate $120,000 toward the remodel. School board member Rex Engle said the foundation, impressed with what had been done at Steele, agreed very quickly to help pay for the AJHS project.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
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