Library Lab Renovation

December 15, 2017


While walking down the hallway near the library, you may have looked into the window of the computer lab and noticed a few changes. For some time now, the room has stood mostly empty, awaiting the exciting new renovations that are to come in the next few months.
At first glance, the new changes underway seem to be a simple update to the computer lab, but in reality, there is much more involved. “We wanted to have a creative space or a “STEAM lab” in the school that will be central, that all classes can come in and use like the library materials,” CRHS librarian Claire Jones said. Student input was seeked since last year and is being taken into account for what new features will be available in the space. “Some of the things we are dead set on having are multiple 3D printers, large format printers, video equipment- like portable green screens that can be popped up anywhere, little attachments for iPhones and iPads, lens filters, tripods, mics, lights- things that students can take out of the library and use for filming or videoing and then can come back and use the computers to edit,” Jones said.
In addition to the traditional computers, there will be other forms of technology available for student use, such as tablets and kits, as well as new furniture to compliment the space. “Now we are realizing that we need iPads and also different kinds of robotics kits and different kinds of electronic kits like Makey-Makey [turns everyday objects into touchpads and combines them with the Internet]. Of course we will have all new tables and chairs, work spaces, and cabinets to store things,” Jones said. The goal is to create a place where students can feel comfortable using technology creatively.
It’s no secret that a project of this magnitude must have a good source of funding. “The money is coming from the district the RRISD innovation grant. You apply for it, a committee reviews it, and then they announce the winners and our campus was one of them,” Jones said. In addition to Ms. Jones, CRHS teachers Mr. Foster, Ms. Windel, and Mr. Jackson were also involved in the committee that drafted the proposal for the space.
In partnership with Mr. Little’s Construction classes, the existing countertops were demolished, and later, these students will be more involved in the remodel. “Now, we have to have a professional contractor that’s approved by the district come in and repair the walls. Then Mr. Little’s class will come in and paint one wall. While the painting is happening, I’m going to start ordering all the equipment,” Jones said. The computers from the lab will continue to be used when the renovation is finished and were carefully taken care of by a Cedar Ridge student. “A student named Andy Castille (12) removed all the computers and put them in a storage area where they would be protected during the demolition,” Jones said. Student involvement is very important and valued in the project, and students will participate in the process from beginning to end.
Architecture students are also gaining hands on experience while participating in the renovation. “Mr. Foster’s students are working with us, since they are studying about design and things like that. They are proposing a new layout for the room, proposing a new structure to go out in front of the room to display projects, and surveying students about what the name of the space should be because we want to have a really cool name for it,” Jones said.
The slated opening date for the new space is sometime after Spring Break. “We will be open by the end of the year. Even if it’s not completely finished, we can partially open,” Jones said. This will allow students to enjoy the new lab for at least a couple of weeks before the school year ends. Regardless of when the grand opening actually is, the new STEAM lab is sure to be a wonderful addition to The Ridge that students will cherish and enjoy for years to come.

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