Eastern Christian High School, NJ
When a renovation opportunity arose for the N.H. Beversluis Media Center at Eastern Christian High School (ECHS), the focus was twofold: reflect the creative spirit of the students who occupy the space, and make the space very flexible — considering the ever-changing uses of the library. Originally told to “dream big” Claudia Godoy-Cortes, Interior and Product Designer, included the idea of bringing light and nature into the dark, unappealing space. She envisioned swapping out tall shelving for medium height shelving, adding an attractive lounge area, installing a rain curtain to divide the room into separate areas, and adding a technical floor for electrical access at any point. When the more modest budget was finally discussed, however, her dream had to be adjusted. She learned that the budget would only cover part of her plan, including a few pieces of furniture and a state of the art technology upgrade.
To make up for some of the shortfall in funding, ECHS turned to the community, parents and alumni for help. Godoy-Cortes credits the donors’ generosity, “Thanks to the donations of those within the ECHS community, we were able to make changes that generated the greatest impact in the students’ lives.” The addition of Kite® Mini Mobile tables, computer tables with electrical access, a 20-capacity laptop charging cart and completely new commercial grade flooring were just some of the improvements made possible with the community’s monetary contribution! To incorporate the school’s core values into the space the art teachers and students created a mural on an entire wall that had previously been hidden by encyclopedias and other underutilized resources. What an amazing and inspiring addition to the library!
Students now embrace the organic layout and use the space in new found ways. They are eager to study at the Media Center and reconfigure the furniture according to their small group or individual needs. ECHS recently expanded its partnerships with two more colleges to provide students with higher education courses that qualify for both high school and college credit. Some of these courses are taught in a distance learning format and the newly renovated Media Center now fully supports learning initiatives of this type.
After the renovation was complete, the school re-dedicated the Media Center to Nicholas Henry Beversluis, one of the first principals at the new building who introduced their current model of education with the integration of faith.