NextGen Spaces - Media Centers

Transforming Learning Spaces at Forest Park Elementary School

Written by Patricia Cadigan, M.Ed., ALEP

On the crisp morning of November 14th, there was a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air as I journeyed to Forest Park Elementary School. Nestled in the heart of Winston-Salem, NC, this Title I school proudly serves a diverse population of students. Today was destined to be etched in the memory of all those involved.

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As I maneuvered through the bustling parking lot, sidestepping the parent drop-off zone, I secured a parking spot, shouldered my backpack, and set forth toward the front doors. Outside, the staff were already immersed in their roles as ambassadors of positivity, greeting students with warm smiles and encouraging words that set the tone for the day.

The hallways reverberated with the contagious energy of smiling students, their chatter and excitement creating an atmosphere that hinted at the transformative events about to unfold. After signing in and receiving clearance, I made my way down a corridor that led to the beating heart of the school—the library.

So here's a little background: The library was our canvas for the day, a space teeming with potential. Artcobell had partnered with the inspirational team at Heart of America to reinvent this space to meet a modern and very different set of needs for the school. A team of 38 volunteers from both groups was onsite to do the work.

The daunting question loomed: Could we accomplish our mission - to completely transform this old library -  within the confines of a mere six hours? Faith prevailed, fueled by the sight of Artcobell furniture boxes that promised the metamorphosis could happen.

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Excitement bubbled up as Heart of America Volunteers gathered, transforming the room into a hive of organized chaos, each person playing a crucial role in the unfolding narrative. At 8:00 a.m., a kick-off session marked the official commencement of our transformative journey. Media Center Coordinator Tiffany Ramey, the guardian of the library's soul, stood at the forefront, delivering words that resonated with gratitude and excitement.

"Today, we are here with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and excitement as we come together to create and celebrate a truly transformative journey."

The day unfolded with a symphony of activities—shelves were installed, books were meticulously arranged, volunteers assembled furniture, and a mural began to breathe life onto a blank wall. The background hummed with music, laughter, and the clatter of progress. With each passing moment, the clock ticked closer to the 2:00 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony—a deadline looming with excitement and a touch of nervousness.

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Amidst the orchestrated chaos, Tiffany shared her reflections.

"The faces of the students as they pass by the window, wows, ohs and ahs, and hallelujahs heard throughout the hallways and library makes me excited for this new beginning. This endeavor has been nothing short of a collective labor of love, and I extend my deepest thanks to every person involved in making this vision a reality."

Hours later, as the final strokes of the transformation were applied, a sense of achievement filled the air. The culmination of hard work, dedication, and collaborative spirit was evident in the revamped library. The 2:00 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony unfolded seamlessly, marking the official rebirth of the space.

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Tiffany's heartfelt words captured the essence of the day:

"Because although our project has ended, mine has just begun with the students here at Forest Park, and that is very exciting."

In the echoes of gratitude, laughter, and the rustle of newly turned pages, Forest Park Elementary bore witness to one of the best days in the professional career of all involved—a day when a community came together to create not just a renovated space but a gateway to new possibilities for the students of Forest Park Elementary. To read more about the Forest Park project, see this article: FOREST PARK ELEMENTARY GETS A NEW LEARNING SPACE

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Dec 19, 2023

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