Education

Fish tanks, a café and chairs from Wal-mart part of students’ pitch for library redesign

'These (computers) are dinosaurs': Henry Clay students pitch library renovations

Sarah Zehnder’s Advanced Geometry class of ninth and tenth graders designed several proposals for a library renovation that could be scheduled within the next three years.
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Sarah Zehnder’s Advanced Geometry class of ninth and tenth graders designed several proposals for a library renovation that could be scheduled within the next three years.

If students have their way, Lexington’s Henry Clay High School could have a renovated library with dry erase tables, mobile shelves, a Powerball-shaped charging station for cellular phones, fish tanks, a giant white board, a small cafe and maybe even some chairs from Wal-mart.

Sarah Zehnder’s Advanced Geometry class of ninth and tenth graders has designed several proposals for a library renovation that could be scheduled within the next three years. They pitched them Thursday.

Students are using the skills they learned in geometry to make a scale drawing, draft a budget, do cost calculations by hand and create a power point presentation, said Zehnder. They visited libraries and researched the latest furniture trends. Most of their cost proposals ranged from $50,000 to a few hundred thousand dollars.

Parker Clarke said he and classmate Nolan Doss “were just trying to show that we can turn a library that has been here for many years into something more modern, and put more modern technology, more modern furniture into it. We can do it on our budget … we can do it with students’ thinking.”

Parker was among the students who lobbied for new computers, calling the current ones “a dinosaur.”

Teachers at the school will cast votes for the plans students presented, and the winner is exempt from the class final exam. School officials say they expect to see elements of the students’ ideas in the ultimate library renovation, which is on the district’s four-year plan of construction projects. The entire school renovation could cost $17.3 million, according to the plan.

Students think that “all bits and pieces put together would make a really nice design,” said Zehnder.

A team that included Audrey Glockner suggested dry erase tables, mobile shelving, iPad minis and fishtanks at a cost of $160,000.

“We were hoping to make the library more of a fun place,” Audrey said.

Hannah Miller suggested a giant white board — she was inspired by the movie “Hidden Figures” — so that students could work on problems together. She also suggested a mobile charging station called The Powerball, that looks like a lottery Power Ball.

Hannah also thinks the new library should be painted light blue.

Light blue paint is proven to spark productivity in students and help with keeping them focused and calm, she said.

Emma Gray thought the addition of a café costing around $760 and offering coffee and other drinks would help students wake up in the morning.

Another group found some chairs at Wal-mart they thought would be serviceable.

Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk sat in on some of the presentations Thursday.

“Our students are young designers using geometry to reimagine, to make the space better,” Caulk said.

“I think they’ve done an outstanding job,” said Librarian Felica White. “There are bits and pieces from each proposal that potentially could add to this space.”

Grant Dolen presented a 3D model of his plan, which included a proposal for a second level in the library.

“This isn’t the worst library, but it isn’t the best,” Grant said. “I know it could be so much better.”

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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