The hush and antiqued odor of this 1972 high school library has been replaced with the vibrant buzz of student collaboration and state of the art technology. At 4,600 SF, the Montville Township High School’s library housed typical stacks, a classroom, and computing areas. To accentuate the vital role the enlivened Media Center plays on campus – securing its presence upon entering the school – an upper commons was added which serves as an entrance to the upper floor level of the rotunda. Additional windows and doors were added to lead to the new patio and pergola space within the courtyard. The renovated space is a realization District’s vision for a space where the educational needs are met and encouraged to grow through exploration, creation, and collaboration.
The new MTHS Media Center now bears little resemblance to a traditional library; rather, it would be more accurately described as a learning commons – a design that embraces flexibility, collaboration, access to information and resources, and the evolving needs of students. The space infuses technology – balancing volumes of materials in the stacks and online content – as well as flexible furniture and an open environment that embraces collaboration, and penaccess to information and resources. It continues to be a supportive environment for artistic and cultural displays as well as co-curricular seminars, lectures and performances. A dedicated art gallery supports the display of student work, not only tactile but also digital.
Expanded windows, an outdoor education space, flexible glass classrooms, a performance platform and a soaring circulation desk have redefined the space and brought the research opportunities it provides into the modern world.
The open space is abundant yet secure; furnishings and glass partitions provide various levels of interaction. Technology is weaved within each of the three glasshoused collaboration rooms. Another sliding glass partition easily integrates the classroom space into the overall area for large functions. Flexible seating engages all types of learning and exploration.
These resources and flexibility of the design educationally align with Montville’s instructional innovations developed through their “District of Distinction” recognized Humanities Research Program. By combining differentiated learning ractices with student centered research, students across the spectrum are fully engaged. Students who do not typically think of themselves as scholars, become interested learners and develop strong leadership and management skills.
American School & University Educational Interiors Showcase Outstanding Design 2016