Gainesville school’s library space evolves as learning lab / media center

Using a $10,000 donation from the Leroy and Ovia Marie McGinnis Fund in the Ozark Community Foundation with other grant funding that’s been applied for, Gainesville High School is “reutilizing” its current library into a learning lab / media center. This architectural rendering by Sapp Design shows how the traditional library space will be remodeled.

The junior high / high school library, in its current, traditional arrangement, is used only two hours during the school day, says Gainesville superintendent Jeff Hyatt. Reconfigured as a learning lab / media center, the space will be utilized seven hours a day. Remaining space will become a band room, fitness room and storage area.

A layout drawing shows how a windowed partition will divide the learning lab and media center, allowing a certified teacher to oversee students in both areas as they use the space for varied purposes.

Gainesville R-V School District is not getting rid of its library, says superintendent Jeff Hyatt, responding to recent social media posts that made claims to the contrary. “We’re relocating and remodeling the current junior high / high school library to become a combination computer learning lab and media center,” Hyatt said. “We’re dividing up the current library space to better utilize it.”

The current library configuration is “very outdated” and is used only two hours of the school day, Hyatt said. “We’re reestablishing the library within a media center and learning lab that will have capabilities for the students to use the areas seven hours of the day.”

The school will be making the improvements with the help of a $10,000 donation from the Leroy and Ovia Maria McGinnis Fund in the Ozark County Community Foundation. It is also applying for a $20,000 Coover grant through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.  

Computers in the new learning lab will offer online classes through a program established with the Springfield Public School system and a partnership of more than 60 other southwest Missouri schools. “It’s a great opportunity for Gainesville students; we’re very excited about it,” Hyatt said.

The program, now in its fourth year in southwest Missouri, offers a wide range of online foreign language classes, upper-level math and science courses such as trigonometry, calculus, upper-level chemistry and anatomy -- things that college-bound students may not be able to work into their regular classroom schedules, Hyatt said, adding, “We haven’t been able to have this before.”

The online program also includes college-level courses the high school students can take for credit, he said. 

The reconfigured space will include a windowed partition. “We have to be able to see both sides” of the room, Hyatt said, adding that, as students use the remodeled library / learning lab / media center throughout the day, “there will always be a certified teacher in the room.”

The remodeling also includes new flooring, furniture and paint. 

“We already have wiring for the computers. We just need to remodel and set things up differently,” he said. 

There will still be a circulation library, “but it will be improved from what we have now,” he said. “Plus, we’re trying to get more e-books for the kids to have access to through online apps.” 

In some of the courses offered through the new program, “our students will be involved with a seated class in another location. They’ll have the opportunity to have a live teacher, someone who can correspond directly with them throughout their coursework. That won’t be the majority of the classes offered online, but some of them,” he said.

Planning for the program began last fall after representatives of the program met with Gainesville school officials. “The board has given its blessing to get this program up and running,” Hyatt said. “We want it to be a new, modern area in our current facility that students will be proud of.”

Hyatt said the remodeling will include new furniture, flooring and other furnishings that will the areas “much more inviting.” 

The remainder of the original library space will become a band room, a fitness room and storage. “And we’ll still have a 2,000-square-foot community room,” Hyatt said, adding that the transition is expected to be completed with the learning lab program up and running at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. 

Recently, he’s taken district residents on tours of the school that include visits to the library and an explanation of the way the library space is going to be reutilized. He welcomes residents’ interest in the school and hopes more will come for a tour. Contact Hyatt at 417-679-4200.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423