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New digital media center debuts at Chartiers Valley

| Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
The library at Chartiers Valley Middle/High School is now called the Digital Media Center, and underwent changes and renovations over the summer.
The library at Chartiers Valley Middle/High School is now called the Digital Media Center, and underwent changes and renovations over the summer.
The library at Chartiers Valley Middle/High School is now called the Digital Media Center, and underwent changes and renovations over the summer.

The library at Chartiers Valley Middle/High School is no longer a place meant for silence.

The space – now called the Digital Media Center – underwent changes and renovations over the summer to turn it into a space truly for students, said Alan Welding, a digital media specialist with the district.

“I see it as, in a sense, a student union,” Welding said. “There are going to be so many things going on here. It's not going to be, ‘You're sitting and reading or you're out of here.'”

The new look includes more open space for students to work or teachers to hold class. What used to be rows of shelves in the center under the domed ceiling is now an open floor plan, where moving desks will allow students to work alone or in groups.

Welding said the center has not replaced the library. Rather, the library has become a part of it.

“We didn't get rid of the books, we're just getting rid of the books no one uses,” he said. “Why have a stack of encyclopedias that are out of date when we now use the Internet? We have to get with the times and use this space to do other things relevant to the times.”

Greens, blues, yellows and oranges make the room pop where white walls used to reign. One wall will include two 70-inch televisions, which can be used for either work or play.

“They might play a game on it. They might hook up a computer to it,” Welding said. “Then instead of a group working on a project gathering around a little laptop, they gather around a huge TV.”

He said part of his job will be showing teachers how they can best utilize the space.

“I'll work with students, but I'll also work with teachers who say, ‘I want to do something, but I don't know what,' ” he said.

Some faculty members have already begun including the space in their plans.

“I am really looking forward to using the Digital Media Center with my classes,” said high school social studies teacher Scott Crimone. “The open space and vibrant colors combine to create an excellent learning atmosphere.”

He said he already has two webinars planned in the center for his advanced placement history class.

Students are equally excited, Welding said, and many have been stopping in to check out the changes.

He said he hopes to include those students and various classes to bring more life and interaction to the center, including possible gallery showings, poetry readings and live music.

“It doesn't have to be super formal,” he said. “You think of a library, you're told don't talk, don't eat, don't drink. In the real world, that's not the way things are.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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