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Project Reimagine Gains Popularity at BAHS

September25

cafe signA few weeks ago I shared a post about the brand-new media center in my district, one that was recently featured in the Daily Herald, a local newspaper. Since then, Project Reimagine—as I have named it—has continued to gain popularity, not only with our students, but with administrators in other districts who have begun to visit our innovative space. Other local media outlets have stopped by to check things out as well.

In fact, Project Reimagine was highlighted in an article that appeared in the Altoona Mirror last week so once again, I thought it was worth sharing…

B-A creates media center in library
By Walt Frank

Bellwood-Antis High School students have a new place to do their assignments and have a snack at the same time.

A section of the high school library has been transformed into a media center. It’s where school board members held their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The media center was the brainchild of Director of Instructional and Media Technology Jamie Forshey.

Front L-R Alanna Vaglica, Brandie Ray, Benjamin Eamigh and Alex Foose. Rear L-R Jenna Bartlett and Alivia Jacobs. All 10th graders. (Photo courtesy of J.D. Clavich)

Front L-R Alanna Vaglica, Brandie Ray, Benjamin Eamigh and Alex Foose. Rear L-R Jenna Bartlett and Alivia Jacobs. All 10th graders. (Photo courtesy of J.D. Cavich)

“Transforming our traditional library into a more modern space that has the look and feel of a Barnes & Noble/Panera has been a vision of mine for a number of years. Because students can now complete assignments, collaborate with peers on projects, study and even grab a snack in a more hip, relaxed environment, one in which they have access to their mobile devices, I feel we are building what is becoming a very popular learning hub in our school,” Forshey said.

“The purpose of the media center is to provide the students with a location where they can come together to research, collaborate, read, have breakfast and/or snacks, download or upload assignments and learn entrepreneurial skills by working in the cafe,” said Superintendent Thomas McInroy. The media center includes industrial-themed furniture, flooring, shelving and lighting in a brightly painted space. An office area has been converted into a cafe that is sells snacks and drinks but will eventually offer lattes, coffees, soft pretzels and pastries, Forshey said.

The media center/cafe is expected to benefit Bellwood-Antis students.
“It is our hope that students will be able to research information in a meaningful way and apply the information to solve problems, explore their world and to better understand humanity. We also hope that the media center will bring the student body closer together, increasing school spirit and reducing bullying,” McInroy said.

“The addition of the media center combined with our iPad initiative will change the face of teaching and learning in the middle/high school. In time, we plan to add a makerspace to this area so students can explore, invent, create and problem solve with all kinds of materials and other forms of technology,” Forshey said.

Forshey said a lot of material was donated for the project. For example, a new countertop was donated by Cabinetree while other a refrigerator and Keurig machines were provided by anonymous donors. Several local businesses worked with the district to provide the best deals possible for furniture, supplies and other equipment necessary to get the vision off the ground, Forshey said.

The majority of the first phase of this project was funded by the Bellwood-Antis School District Foundation and Dan Himes Construction.
“Dan and Crystal Himes worked endless hours with me during the summer months to renovate the space before the start of the new school year. Without all of these groups and individuals as well as the support of our school board, administration and custodial staff, this project could have never come to fruition like it has,” Forshey said.

Forshey said her family helped out with the project by making a $1,000 donation.

Walt Frank can be reached at frank@altoonamirror.com.

A high five to Walt for wrting a super cool article about our project!

Stay tuned for more updates as well as student reaction to their new learning hub…

In the meantime, check out a visual timeline of the project to see how the space came to life here.

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