5 ways to update aging media centers

Key points:

  • Prioritize high-need schools and ensure technology is in place from the beginning
  • With updated media centers, schools can support modern learning goals and student activities
  • See related article: 4 ways we designed collaborative learning spaces

It’s been about two years since we received the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding that we needed to be able to update our aging media centers. Not only were the furniture and fixtures old, but most of the seating was made of cloth and nearly impossible to sanitize or disinfect.

We used this ESSER funding opportunity—plus some additional funding from other sources—to thoroughly review our current facilities across 27 different schools. We sought out the facilities with the highest need, knowing that some of them had been upgraded in recent years. Others, however, were still using furniture from 1972—the same year that the schools had opened.

Here are the five steps we took with our partner MiEN to update our aging media centers into flexible, inviting spaces that are conducive to modern learning styles:

1. Prioritize schools with the most need. We looked at the schools that had the highest need and prioritized two middle schools whose facilities were in the worst shape. They had shelving that was 6’ X 8’ feet long and totally connected, plus seating that was old and uncomfortable. We sat down and decided that those would be the first schools to get the upgraded media centers, and we’d tackle the high schools next (the elementary schools would be last because we needed to secure some supplemental funding before we could actually finish those).    

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