Last year, Artcobell approached Heart of America with an idea to turn their EDspaces booth into a way to help a local school. The HOA team got right on board and identified Forest Park Elementary, a school in nearby Winston-Salem that had a dream to transform their library into a multi-functional media center. It was a convergence of opportunities.
The existing library had become a space not only for finding and checking out books, but also for teaching, investigating, meeting, and presenting, and – who knew? – for reading. The learning had morphed but the space and its furnishings had not.
transforming a traditional library into a multifunctional media center.
Teams from Forest Park, Heart of America, and Artcobell met to talk about what the space could become.
Forest Park wanted a flexible space that could accommodate activities like comfortable reading and individual projects research, hands-on STEM/STEAM activities, teacher and even community meetings, and could transition between programming for their younger (grades 1-2) and older (grades 3-5) students. They asked for a reading corner, dedicated lounge seating, dynamic/mobile shelving, mobile maker space tables, large-surface, configurable tables for projects/meetings, and storage for equipment and supplies used for their varied programs.
“The vision for our library is to be a place where students discover and create, find themselves in the pages of a good book, and select books easily and independently,” says Tiffany Ramey, media coordinator at Forest Park Elementary School. “The library is a transformative space where students interact and communicate with each other, inspiring them to solve problems and seek new opportunities for learning.”
The Heart of America Design and Project Management team jumped at the opportunity to design this space. Their talented in-house design team set the approach and layout of the new space. The color palette is based on existing, fairly new carpet already in place. They worked together with Artcobell’s VP of learning environments to identify the right furniture solutions to create a space that would meet all of Forest Park’s needs.
"In order to design and create the optimal new library space at Forest Park Elementary, Heart of America designers spent significant time with the school leaders and students to understand how the space is currently used and ideally would be used,” reports Jill Hardy Heath, president and CEO, Heart of America. “Our team is committed to creating motivating educational environments that empower students to learn and grow. We believe that the physical spaces in which children learn play a critical role in their educational journey.”
The resulting space is flexible, active, and mobile, and can be personalized by every student or teacher.
“We are very excited to collaborate with Heart of America and Forest Park Elementary to transform the media center to meet their needs today and tomorrow,” says Patricia Cadigan, vice president, learning environments, at Artcobell. This is a pivotal time for schools to evaluate the benefits of their library spaces and how the space can serve their students and community. This conversion not only updates and creates spaces that connect and engage their students but will help the staff provide an effective library program that fosters literacy skills, embraces technology, promotes collaboration, and prioritizes equity and inclusion.”
“Collaborating with the Artcobell team has been an absolute pleasure,” Heart of America’s Heath responds. “They bring a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm to the table, and their commitment to working closely with us in developing a fantastic space for Forest Park Elementary has been evident throughout the entire process. Their dedication and focus on our shared mission ‘to enhance the learning environment’ have made this partnership truly rewarding."
Stay tuned for a follow-up with pictures of the new Forest Park Elementary School media center in use!