By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Students at St. Edward School in the Jeffersontown area will soon have a new space where they can research projects, conduct science experiments and check out library books.
A new “media resource center” is under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of July. The new facility will house a large science lab and demonstration room and a new library/media center, said the St. Edward principal, Andrew Bradley.
Currently the school’s library and computer lab are located in two separate areas in the school. Most science experiments and lessons are completed in classrooms.
“Our vision is for some of the space to be dedicated to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities and to have a multipurpose science lab for the whole school,” Bradley explained. “We think it’s forward thinking.”
Bradley said he and the staff want to create a learning environment for “students of the 21st century.”
“By building a media space, we want to prepare children for the future,” he said. “We are looking at how we can prepare them for success in high school and college. I think that shows our priority as a school.”
Currently, the enrollment at St. Edward is about 400 and it’s on track to be the same or slightly higher next year, Bradley said.
“This new building is a symbol of that (expansion) — that we are growing. It shows our commitment to the future,” he said.
The 3,840 square-foot addition on the south end of the school also will house a ticket office, concession stand and rest rooms with outside access.
Right now St. Edward hosts some football games and other sporting events and spectators must enter the school to use the rest rooms, which isn’t ideal, Bradley said.
With the addition of outdoor rest room access, Bradley said he hopes the school will be able to host a wider variety of sporting events.
Diane Walsh, the librarian at St. Edward, said the new library still will house most of the current books for the primary grades and a selection of books for the junior high grades.
She said the younger students, even in this age of technology, still gain a great deal from the tactile experience of holding and touching books. Older students do too as well, she said, but many are reading more and more material on Kindles and other e-readers. Those students will be able to check out e-books from the school’s library in addition to hard copies, she said.
“It (the library) will be more of a resource center where students can go and research and work,” Walsh said. The books that will no longer be used will be donated to the Home of the Innocents, Walsh added.
The preschool and junior kindergarten students will move into the vacated library, Bradley said. They are currently housed in the basement of the parish office next door. The computer lab will be converted to a classroom.
The funds for the new addition were raised and set aside during the Building a Future of Hope campaign, the principal noted.
“Through the tremendously generous donations of parishioners, the school will not accrue any debt,” from the new construction, he said.
Bradley added that the parish office staff also may use the multipurpose space for meetings and other gatherings.