Facilities Improvement Project: Hopewell Middle School

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Facilities Improvement Project: Hopewell Middle School
Laura Morgan
University of West Georgia
Hopewell Middle School has grades 6th through 8th with approximately 1500 students. An
interview with the media specialist, Whitney Beck, about the current facilities revealed that there
have been some recent improvements to the media center, but there are still some issues that
could be resolved (personal communication, March 29, 2016). Although the new furniture is
flexible, the shelving is not and could definitely be better utilized. There are some improvements
that could allow the media center to be the hub of personalize learning.
The media center has recently received new furniture from funds provided by the school.
The new furniture was purchased with a goal of more lightweight flexible furniture that is still
visibly appealing. The new desks have wheels which make them easy to move around and
reconfigure to meet the needs of the media center users. There is also a section with yellow
bucket chairs with desks attached that are easy to move around and group however needed.
There is currently a private room used for small group testing and meetings which was been a
nice addition since the media center is moving to a learning commons and a quiet testing area
cannot always be guaranteed. Other positives are two sitting/reading areas, a nice stand-up
counter space for processing books, and desk space at the circulation desk for both the media
specialist and paraprofessional, and windows throughout both sides of the media center. The
county is currently updating all media centers in phases and Hopewell should receive their
upgrade in the 2016-2017 school year.
What does not work well is that the circulation desk is way too big and creates poor flow
for the media specialist to the different areas of the media center. There are two giant columns,

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one behind the circulation desk and one near the front reading area that are visually unappealing
and create blind spots for supervision. The shelving is not flexible; they are all very heavy and
long shelves. The shelves are perpendicular to the entrance which is not effective for displays or
exposure of materials to the students. There are sections in the media center clearly defined for at
least 2 classes to use it at the same time, but there is not flexibility to have one large group area
or multiple small groups. Teachers are sending students to work in the media center in small
groups more often and there are not good collaboration spaces and technology for small groups.
“The library should be designed to support the range of activities that can be identified and yet
be flexible enough to be easily reconfigured as programs, priorities, teaching practices, and
technology change” (Woolls, 2014, p. 147). Small group work areas will become even more
needed to support the personalized learning initiative from the school district. As part of that all
students will be given a device for the school year; a collaboration station where all students can
plug their device into an interactive display and work together to create a project will be helpful.
One of the biggest improvements will be to make the shelving more flexible to allow for
larger meeting space and another table work area for an entire class as well as creating space for
small group collaboration. The video, professional and reference sections need to be weeded to
eliminated outdated materials. Then what is left can be moved to the currently unused shelves in
the teacher workroom and the wall shelves outside the teacher workroom. The stand-alone
reference shelf can be eliminated and the computer tables spread out to allow more space
between them. It is difficult for a teacher to fit between the rows to help students when both sides
are occupied. The two shelves that currently house professional books can be removed to allow
for three more tables to be added to create a full classroom of tables in that corner of the media
center. Two additional portable interactive workstations will be added to allow for multiple

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classrooms or small groups to maximize technology resources. The shelves for the
Biography/920 section will be replaced with lighter weight shelves on wheels. This will allow
the main part of the media center to be opened to allow for larger groups. The shelves in the
nonfiction section will be angled to provide better access and visibility for the collection.
There does not appear to be a better location for the circulation desk within the media
center to ensure maximum visibility for all areas. As a result the best solution for the flow issue
is to segment the desk so the media specialist does not have to walk all the way around the large
part of the desk to get to the collection when helping students find books. Perhaps the color of
the circulation desk can be changed to better match the new furniture. The question will
definitely be asked if the columns can be changed in any way; they restrict the circulation desk
area and cause blind spots for the media specialist. The preference is for them to be removed if
they are not load-bearing.
There are several other changes that can make the media center more accessible and
flexible. First, the only electrical access right now is along the walls and as stated in Woolls
(2014), “sufficient access to electrical power continues to be an area of concern in both new and
newly renovated spaces” (p. 148). To eliminate this concern, electrical outlets will be added to
the floor throughout the media center. The front door to the media center is not handicap
accessible and definitely should be. That will help it to be better accessible for all students and
teachers as well as making it easier to get iPad and laptop carts into and out of the media center.
In an effort to make the media center more attractive, updated signage and additional color on
the walls and exposed beams will be planned.
Please see the attached diagrams that show the original floorplan (Figure 1), the
suggested improvements (Figure 2), and the final recommended floorplan (Figure 3).

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Fiction along walls

Nonfiction

Professional
Materials

Tables with 32
Desktop Computers

Fiction along walls

Biography &
920s

Circulation Desk

Sitting/reading area
Reference
Teacher
work
room
with
copier

Sitting/reading area

Small group
testing & meeting
Room

Media work room
& office supplies
Table (on wheels) with 6 chairs

Chair (on wheels) with moveable desk tray
Doors

Columns

Windows
Interactive Technology

Entrance

Equipment Closet

Figure 1

Facilities Improvement Project: Hopewell Middle School

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Fiction along walls

Nonfiction

Professional
Materials

Tables with 32
Desktop Computers

Angle shelves
to allow better
visibility.

Move Professional
Materials to the teacher
workroom eliminating
two shelves & allowing
room for 3 more tables.

Fiction along walls

Add 2 interactive
collaboration
stations.

Replace
shelves with&
Biography
lightweight
920s
shelves on
wheels.

Move tables
further apart
to allow access
between them.

Sitting/reading area

Circulation Desk

Weed reference. Move

Reference
Professional and Videos
to these shelves.

Teacher
work
room
with
copier

Separate the desk from
the work space to allow
better flow for staff.
Eliminate column if
possible.

Sitting/reading area

Small group
testing & meeting
Room

Media work room
& office supplies
Table (on wheels) with 6 chairs

Chair (on wheels) with moveable desk tray
Doors

Columns

Windows
Interactive Technology

Handicap
accessible
Entrance
entrance.

Equipment Closet

Figure 2

Facilities Improvement Project: Hopewell Middle School

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Fiction along walls

Nonfiction

Tables with 32
Desktop Computers

Fiction along walls

Biography &
920s

Reference,
Professional, & Videos.
Teacher
work
room
with
copier

Circulation Desk

Sitting/reading area

Sitting/reading area

Small group
testing & meeting
Room

Media work room
& office supplies
Table (on wheels) with 6 chairs

Chair (on wheels) with moveable desk tray
Doors

Columns

Windows
Interactive Technology

Entrance with
handicap
accessible doors

Equipment Closet

Figure 3

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References
Woolls, B., Weeks, A. C., & Coatney, S. (2014). The school library manager (5th ed.). Santa
Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, LLC.