Project will transform Salem High library

This is a tentative rendering of how the entrance to the new Learning Commons at Salem Junior/Senior High School could look when completed in time for the new school year. The district has budgeted $250,000 toward the library renovation to update the space into a more modern, technologically enhanced learning center. (Submitted image)

SALEM — A place to incite creativity — that’s how Superintendent Dr. Joe Shivers described the Maker Space planned for the New Learning Commons at Salem Junior/Senior High School.

Learning Commons is the name attached to a project to renovate the library/media center into a 21st century learning space with the technology to boot, including charging stations, a 3-D printer, a tabletop CNC machine and materials to make anything a student can dream up and design.

Add in new flooring, a new dropped ceiling with LED lighting, new paint job in Quaker colors, some wraps at the entrance and on the back wall emblazoned with Quaker Sam and the block S to drum up some school spirit, new moveable tables, new chairs, moveable white boards, pendant lighting, a touch screen television and soft seating to transform the library which hasn’t changed much since the 60’s into a happening, modern Learning Commons.

Shivers said one wall will be dedicated to student art and they’ll do something to the courtyard, too, if someone wants to donate. Since he highlighted the project in his column in “The Forum” newsletter the district sends out, three donations have come for the library project, which the board accepted with gratitude during Monday’s meeting. Judith Sell donated $100, the Fredrickson family donated $500 and Bob and Linda Sebo donated $1,500.

The school district has $250,000 set aside for the project from permanent improvment funds and the board agreed to advertise for contractors for the library renovation. The board also gave permission to advertise for contractors for two other summer projects slated to cost a combined $250,000. Those projects include improvements to the visitor side of Reilly Stadium and drainage and other improvements to the home side, including the fence between the bleachers and the stand.

During the meeting, members of the committee for the library renovation, including Shivers, High School Principal and incoming Superintendent Sean Kirkland, Curriculm Director Jamie Kemats and Treasurer Michael Douglas highlighted the various areas of the project during a slideshow presentation. Douglas said demolition will begin the week of June 3 by the district maintenance crew, including removing all the bookshelves, cabinets, carpeting and even moving a few walls. The glass wall at the entrance will be moved up and the new circulation desk will be located more in the middle of the room.

Kirkland noted that the room currently has 163 units for lighting that will be reduced to 62 units, but with more light due to being LED.

Rubber flooring will be put in the Maker Space, with carpet squares of alternating patterns throughout the rest of the learning center. The wooden wall in the back will be covered with a wrap and the other side will be painted.