By Amber Georgenson, Current Staff
After months of renovations, the West Bend West High School library is reopening for student and faculty usage.
Wednesday marks the first day the West library will be open to all. Students will be able to make use of the space by reading, doing homework, chatting with friends and much more.
Outside of the library lies a seating area open to all even while the library is closed. Near the entry will be a working, relaxing and designing area in which students can do their homework, work on projects or bond with each other. In a normal school year, the nearby cabinets would be filled with art supplies, puzzles and board games for student use, but unfortunately, COVID-19 affects this.
“Right now I can’t even put them out,” district librarian Kim Christiansen said.
What used to be the West study hall is now connected to the library as a presentation room. Two large TVs hang at the front of the presentation room on either side of the speaker. Up the rising levels and toward the back of the room are TVs for group discussions during and after presentations. When there are no presentations occurring, the space can be used for more seating.
Students who need quiet time for their work will be able to use one of the six breakout or conference rooms that can be sectioned off by closing doors.
“One of the big complaints from some of the students was when the libraries were open last year in real time, it was too noisy out in the middle and they couldn’t concentrate, so this will be more quiet for them,” Christiansen said.
Initially, the West library was first going to be closed for construction at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, but COVID-19 forced plans to change. The project began earlier with students out of the building, which ended up being a good thing. The pandemic caused many businesses to close or temporarily close, which left the library’s new furniture on back order. Now, the high school library staff plan to move books, computers and other equipment into the space Monday and Tuesday.
West principal Ralph Schlass mentioned how money in the budget had been set aside for the West library’s remodel, but not the East library. However, the East library will not be a library much longer.
“Our previous superintendent made a commitment to redoing a library, making it one, but there wasn’t enough money to do both of them at the same time,” Schlass said. “We’ve got some preliminary ideas about what we want to do up there, but right now nothing is formally planned.”
(Top image: The renovated West High School library has new seating and skylights. Photograph by Amber Georgenson, Current Staff.)