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Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


Oglethorpe Point Elementary School Media Center Facilities Plan Tammy M. Stratton Georgia Southern University

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


Facility Description Oglethorpe Point Elementary School, named after General James Oglethorpe, was built in 1994 on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Built to accommodate 750 students from Pre-K to 5th grade, it currently is home to a 592 student-body and an excellent staff of 85 (49 certified teachers). With an approximate square footage of 88,310 feet, Oglethorpe Point Elementary School (OPES) is a spacious, beautifully maintained school. Students work line the open, polished hallways and Mrs. Shearhouse, the art teacher, ensures an ever-changing gallery of student art throughout the school. Upon entering the school, the office is to the right, with the trophy case and student-painted mural to the left. Past smiling photos of students whove mastered the A.I.M.S. tests, the media center sits quietly on the left. This is actually the backdoor students can look through the windows at the morning news broadcast, but they must enter from the two main front doors. As they enter the front doors of the 2100+ square-foot media center, they are greeted by a spacious and tidy beach-themed media center complete with an extra-large beach umbrella and two Grinch-green Adirondack chairs situated beneath. Beach towels line the back wall, with the tops of bookshelves hosting various sand toys. Directly to their right are the 800 & 900s

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


plus two study carrels. Against the far right wall are the 00 600s, with two windows and smaller bookcases holding collections like The Boxcar Children. To their left are the biographies and the storage room. Just past the storage door, situated below a large bank of windows that look into the news broadcast room, are the reference books. Behind the windows lies the news crew broadcast room and, in the second smaller room, the news crew technicians and the media centers VHS collection. Directly in front, as the student walks into the media center, are four rectangular tables seating six students per table, with three 42 X 24ft bookcases to the right. In addition, two 42 X 6 bookcases contain the Easy Books section A-B. Computer stations accommodating 14 students are divided into one station of 4 computers with the remaining 10 computers sitting at the end of the 36 bookcases and in front of the reading nook. The checkout counter and computer sit in front of the media clerk, media specialist and network support specialists office. Facing the checkout desk, the reading and story-time nook is to the right, with the Accelerated Reader points board hanging on the main wall within the nook. Directly to the left of the checkout desk is the doorway to the teacher/media specialist work area containing the laminating machine, Ellison machine, cutting boards, refrigerator and various supplies like pencils, paper, etc.

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


In summary, the floor plan of the media center showcases the majority of Fiction and Easy books in the center with Reference and Non-Fiction around the perimeter of the room cased in approximately 67 high bookshelves. There is plenty of space for students at the four tables, enough for an average class-size, plus two comfortable reading areas for students including the recent addition of two beanbags to the reading nook. The room exudes a clean, bustling environment, though sections do feel cramped for space. Natural lighting through the only two outside-facing windows assists with the cozy atmosphere, giving much-needed assistance to the overhead lighting. The students add the vital elements of energy and enthusiasm as they move between the aisles searching for books or picking up copies at the teachers printer. Survey Data I chose to utilize Convenience Sampling to gain media center feedback. Though riddled with sampling bias due to my questioning only those parents, students and teachers that entered the media center, I found the results enlightening. The patrons were asked to list what they felt were the top three media center strengths and top three weaknesses. From the approximately 49 media center patrons I encountered during my time, the general consensus, even among students, was the media center required additional cozy places for them to read. Theyd acknowledge the reading nook with its

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


couch and two beanbags plus the Adirondack chairs, though three quietly stated that, though they looked neat, the beach chairs werent comfortable enough for reading. The students, surprisingly, commented on the difficulty of finding specific books due to the large number and how crammed in the books were in sections. Another weakness was the lack of time to enjoy the media center. Though this did not involve the facility itself, it was a frequent comment. Ironically, the large book collection was the number one choice in media strengths followed by a close second of the media specialist, herself. Overall, though not a scientific sampling, it spoke volumes of how the media center is perceived.

Addressing Media Center Weaknesses Overall, the Oglethorpe Point Media Center has an inviting, relevant atmosphere: the media specialist does an excellent job of supplying the latest literature for the students like graphic novels. Also, after studying various new school floor plans, OPES competes with their general layout. If altering their floor plan were not an option, the students and staff would not suffer, because the media center presently offers two reading areas, 14 computers, 22,000+ book collection and heavy parental involvement.

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


Yet, to address the concerns highlighted in the survey and my own experiences and observations, redesigning the OPES facility floor plan would not require an inordinate amount of work, as they have a solid foundation in their excellent book selection and existing Pottery Barn furnishings and size of media center. Side note: according to GA DOE, the square footage of a media center with FTE of 736-761 is 3525 feet. My measurements of only the main section was approximately 2014 feet, but add in two 8X12 offices, the 6X8 network specialist offices, the 10X13reading nook, storage, broadcast room, technician room and teacher/media specialist work room, and it appears the OPES media center is within the state guidelines. First, I would order additional comfortable seating like reading couches sized for Pre-K to 1st graders from at $183.99. Also, I found some fantastic library-themed furniture from like the 5-foot floor book for the students to lounge on while reading. They also design custom-made furniture, and one example is of a library with an ocean/beach theme similar to the OPES media center theme. The example shows an enormous sea turtle, starfish and shell used as floor cushions for reading. No prices are listed; therefore Ill assume this type of furniture requires a large surplus of funds. Next, a thorough weeding of the entire media center collection would alleviate the cramming of books and allow children easier

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


access. From a previous assignment, I found the average publication date to be 19 years old, so weeding some of the older, non-relevant titles would open up room for better displaying of popular genres like the graphic novels. In addition to comfortable furniture and weeding, the media center would benefit from adding a Smartboard and moving their existing furniture and bookshelves to open up space and allow the media specialist an unobstructed view of the entire media center. Currently, from the checkout desk, the reading nook is hidden, as are certain areas of the book aisles. Also, the checkout desk should ideally have a position close to the main doors. On the revised floor plan, the checkout desk was moved to the front of the media center between the two main doors allowing for a 100% unobstructed view of the media center. After the weeding process, the Reference and NonFiction books would line the perimeter, with the addition of the Smartboard where previous non-fiction were once shelved. The Fiction and Easy books, again, after the weeding process, would inhabit one less bookshelf and allow for room to display new materials next to the checkout desk. Also, the computer stations were moved to one central location for easier monitoring. Although addressing the previous weaknesses of the media center would require a large amount of work and money, the concerns are relevant and relatively easy to rectify. Yet, when addressing the

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


hours of the media center, as a few parents requested, many factors come to play. Money and physical work will not solve this problem; instead it focuses on time, which is the largest factor in so much of educational practices. Though staff works after school each day (until 4pm Monday and Tuesday at OPES), allowing parents and students further access to the media center requires the media specialist to focus on them and not on her workload during those extended hours. Parents currently have Wednesday and Thursday as extended checkout days plus the entire school day, if needed, therefore extending media center hours is not a feasible request. Relevant Policies and Issues Oglethorpe Point Elementary Schools Media Policy, as stated in the Student Handbook: Oglethorpe Point Elementary School has a full-time media specialist to serve the needs of our students, parents, and staff. Students use their PIN numbers to check out books and materials from the media center. Students may visit the media center with a pass from their teacher between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. The media center is also available to students all day. Students may visit the media center individually or as a group with their teacher. The media center is available for parents as well. Parents may check out materials using their childs PIN number during school hours of 8:00 2:30 and from 2:30 3:00 on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


Parents must accompany students in the Media Center after school hours. (bold in the handbook) These are sufficient over-arching guidelines for the media center, so parents and students must either visit the media center or read the monthly newsletter to gain specific information regarding AR, book checkouts, lost or damaged books, etc. OPES allows Pre-K through 2nd graders a one-book checkout limit, with 3rd through 5th grade allowed two books plus a research book, if needed. Ms. Martin, the media specialist, looks at lost and damaged books on a case-by-case basis, but policy mandates that report cards are held if students owe money on lost books, and this is enforced.

Glynn County Board of Education Media Program Policy: The implementation of a unified media program throughout the Glynn County School System shall be based on procedures implemented by the Superintendent in accordance with State Board of Education rules and regulations. The procedures implemented by the Superintendent shall contain provisions to ensure that: 1. A media committee is established at the system level to be responsible for the development of media procedures for the school system, including: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Selecting media and instructional materials, Handling requests for reconsideration of materials, Considering gifts of instructional resources, Using non-school owned materials, and Complying with copyright law.

2. A media committee is established at each school to provide input into various aspects of the media center operation, including:

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


1. Making recommendations and decisions related to planning, operation, evaluation and improvement of the media program, 2. Annually evaluating media services, and 3. Developing a multi-year media plan for budget and services priorities.

At OPES, the media specialist, along with the principal, makes the final determination on a number of these provisions. Glynn County Board of Education Policy Internet Acceptable Use: It is the belief of the School System that the use of telecommunications, including the Internet, in instructional programs is an educational strategy that facilitates communication, innovation, resource sharing, and access to information. Use of the Internet must be in support of education and research and consistent with the educational mission, goals, and objectives of the school system. It shall be the policy of the Board of Education that the school system shall have in continuous operation, with respect to any computers belonging to the school having access to the Internet:

1. A qualifying technology protection measure, as that term is defined in Section 1703(b)(1) of the Childrens Internet Protection Act of 2000; and 2. Procedures or guidelines developed by the superintendent, administrators and/or other appropriate personnel which provide for monitoring the online activities of users and the use of the chosen technology protection measure to protect against access through such computers to visual depictions that are (i) obscene, (ii) child pornography, or (iii) harmful to minors, as those terms are defined in Section 1703(b)(1) and (2) of the Childrens Internet Protection Act of 2000. Such procedures or guidelines shall be designed to:

Running Head: FRIT 7132 Facilities Plan


I. Provide for monitoring the online activities of users to prevent, to the extent practicable, access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and the World Wide Web; II. Promote the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications; III. Prevent unauthorized access, including so-called hacking, and other unauthorized activities by minors online; IV. Prevent the unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors; and V. Restrict minors access to materials harmful to minors, as that term is defined in Section 1703(b)(2) of the Childrens Internet Protection Act of 2000. OPES sends a permission sheet home at the beginning of the year explaining the policy and requiring the parents and students to sign.