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The Crimson

New media center opens

Jack Topping 17, News Editor

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After months of planning and construction, the new media center is finally ready for the students here at BHS.

Original plans for creating a new media center in the space of the old auditorium began five years ago in 2012. After closing the old auditorium from public use a few years back, the district began the more detailed work on raising capital for their proposed media center. After various meetings and a large referendum, the budget was approved and allocated for the space. Beginning in summer 2016, the architecture was completed and construction began.

With months of delays, as well as several mishaps during construction, the finished date for the media center was pushed back for several months. This past March, the construction of the new media center was finally completed. Only minor details, such as the installation of TVs and a PA system were left to finish. Once Mr. Neigel received the Certificate of Occupancy from the municipal government of Bernardsville, the media center was set to open.

The media center boasts a very large 9000 square ft. space, showing off a large and airy environment. The center offers many amenities, which include but are not limited to: five individual and quiet study classrooms, a large desk for the librarian, sixteen TV’s with one remote under the control of Mrs. Dolson, a reading nook with all the previous library’s books, flexible seating and desks, exclusive WiFi for the space, a 30ft projector, a small cafe for enjoying small food and beverages, and a lockable storage area for charging each electronic device.

In the video tour with Mr. Neigel, posted on the Crimson website, Mr. Neigel goes through each space in depth. Very proud of his work, he explains how the space will be a valuable asset to each student, and how he expects the space to be treated with respect so future students may enjoy the space for years to come. He says the space is “the most covered space in the building” in regards to surveillance, showing each camera installed, from both floors, in the video tour.

When entering the main entrance, on the left is the cafe with a TV boldly in the middle of the wall. Each piece of furniture in the space is custom, including the high top tables and chairs. Towards the side of the cafe is the custom couch called “the River,” which Mr. Neigel personally tested out prior to purchasing. Testing out the “the River” was of high importance to Niegel because it was a couch that was going to be used both in the cafe and in the Gallery.

Next to “The River”, are stacked lockable charging stations, which allow students to safely and securely leave their electronics or other valuables while they are in the media center space. Each locker is secured with a keypad that can have any custom code the user desires.

To the right upon entering the main entrance is the librarian’s office and desk, where Mrs. Dolson will reside. To the right of her desk is the printing station for students to use, with three desktops and loanable Chromebooks to use at the student’s convenience. To the left of that is the wall of shelves, holding all the books previously held in the old library. Taking up a majority of the space on the bottom floor are the super comfortable chairs, as well as various desks for any use.

Above those desks, on the walls surrounding them, are the TV’s, for entertainment use. The channel each TV is on can be changed with Ms. Dolson, and the audio that accompanies that channel can be remotely accessed on a student’s personal device using an app called “Tunity”. Tunity uses the provider of each station, through WiFi and your device’s location, to live-stream the audio of the scanned TV in real time.

The back five quiet study and private classrooms can be loaned out to teachers and students at any time. They are designed for work only, as entertainment can be acquired in any other part of the media center space.

The TV in each room is specific to that room, and is not hardwired to Ms. Dolson’s main remote control. Each room has a desk and multiple chairs, as well as the ability to modify the lighting.

As shown in the media center video tour, the chairs are stackable, and like all the other furniture on the bottom floor, the desks can be moved around and converted into virtually any desired shape or configuration.

The upstairs portion of the media center, known as the “Gallery”, features another “River” couch in addition to ottomans located every four seats. The Gallery space is designed for relaxation and study halls. On each side of the space are more high top tables, and fire exits, that are only to be used in an emergency. The doors are primed with an alarm, that will sound if opened.

Finally, the two classrooms on the adjacent side of the media center is the additional classroom and language lab. The language lab proudly displays 25+ language audio desks for remote conversations in the class.

While the media center is meant for student use, Mr. Neigel and the rest of the school administration specifically stress the need for respect towards the new space. The goal of the area is to provide a healthy work environment, and if this is taken advantage of, students will lose access to the space.

The official grand opening for the center will be held on Wednesday, April 7th at 7:00 PM. All those who are interested in attending should contact Mr. Neigel for more information.

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New media center opens