Last fall the Hanawalt Elementary School PTA announced the school’s first Read-a-Thon to benefit the school’s library/media center.

“Our goal is to raise $7,500 to spruce up our book collection with new and exciting titles for all reading levels,” read the blurb on the Hanawalt website.

Students solicited pledges in support of their declared reading goals and when it was all over, lo and behold, more than $11,000 was raised – and so was the bar of expectations.

“We decided to use those funds as seed money for a campaign to really upgrade our media center,” said Scott Surprenant, Media Integration Specialist at Hanawalt.

Since then, a “Think Tank Team” comprised of students, faculty and parents has been brainstorming on design features and Tuesday the fundraising campaign for the ambitious project formally launched during an all-school assembly in the gym.

Local architect Channing Swanson is a Hanawalt parent and he incorporated student input into literally roof-raising drawings that were unveiled during the assembly.

Besides lifting the ceiling in a spirit of giving flight to ideas, interior walls will be made of glass and double as scratch pads.

“We want to blend the space with the hallways to invite people into it,” said Swanson. “The media center will become the hub of Hanawalt; the heart and soul of learning here.”

The overall concept is an “idea farm,” where creativity and critical thinking skills will grow.

There will be soft, comfortable furniture. The makerspace will include a 3D printer. Nooks sized for students with books and a creation station for collaboration are envisioned. Even the acoustics will be enhanced.

“It’s pretty cool actually,” was how Teague, one of the student presenters and a member of the TTT, described the overall design during the PowerPoint.

According to Surprenant, there’s no firm price tag attached to the project yet, nor is there a fixed timetable for its completion. But the ball is rolling. It’s a question of when, not if. Because libraries need to be more than places where books are shelved nowadays. And librarians need to be media integration specialists. The harsh realities of public school budgets don’t always align with those other ones, so the Hanawalt community is taking them upon themselves.

The handwriting that’s soon to be on the wall at Hanawalt will be by design.

Contact the school if you’d like to know more and/or contribute.

Photos from Hanawalt’s Think Tank Design Presentation
Hanawalt Think Tank Designs Media Center

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