Gilbert Elementary School Principal Matt Harris and Assistant Principal Tammy Leen stand in a room full of books. The school's media center is undergoing a renovation this summer. The books will return to the walls after renovations are complete.
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Gilbert Elementary School Principal Matt Harris and Assistant Principal Tammy Leen are ready to renovate the school's media center.

Gilbert Elementary School Principal Matt Harris and Assistant Principal Tammy Leen are moving books out of the school's media center to make way for upcoming renovations to the center.

Harris asked the Walker County School Board to fund the $10,000 project through a no-interest, five-year loan and the board agreed. GES will pay the money back over five years.

Through the assistance, the school will be able to complete renovations this summer and add a school librarian with a technology background this fall, Harris said.

"The media center is going to be airy and cheery with new bright furniture," he said. "The media center will have curvy furniture where students can come and relax and read a book and work on a station."

New learning environments will be established in the rooms adjacent to the center, he continued.

"There's a big movement of modern learning environments," said Harris. "We are turning rooms into learning areas. When kids exceed in the classrooms, they can come here. We will have a foreign language station, a music station to learn an instrument and a shortwave station."

A video production room will serve as a space where students can present the morning news or teach a lesson, and a separate room will host tech labs and podcasting. Sphero robots will be available for students to practice programming in another room where they can also create Lego robotics, snap circuits and Vex Robotics.

An 8-by-12-foot whiteboard will be set up so students can lay out plans for learning environment projects, he said.

"Students can build a mini computer called Raspberry Pi," said Harris. "It is a single-board computer that can do anything a normal computer can do. We have a soldering station."

Hands-on activities of a more traditional kind will be available in the Maker's Space, which will feature an embroidery machine and sewing machines in addition to a 3-D printer.

"We will have vinyl cutting and decals for cups," he said. "A lot of it is to teach entrepreneurship to design projects and businesses around it.

"Everything else had been redone in the school for our STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] focus," said Harris, adding that now it's the media center's turn for a transformation.

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