TIPTON — Students at Tipton Elementary School have a new and improved library they can hang out in.
Two new spaces provide for a reading nook and group-work space with desks students can write on with dry-erase markers. They wipe right off.
The reading nook will be nice and cozy once furniture arrives.
“The kids are honestly excited about the new furniture,” said Tipton Superintendent Ryan Glaze.
The elementary library, or media center, is just one area across the entire Tipton school campus that has been, is in the process of or will be renovated.
It’s all part of a $28 million school improvement project that aims to bring the school district in to the 21st Century. The project did not raise taxes.
Work began over the summer with the installation of turf at the football stadium. New tennis courts were also added.
The multi-phase, multi-year project will mostly benefit academic spaces.
Phase one is in progress and has already seen improvements to all three school buildings. Glaze gave the Tribune a tour of the completed and ongoing work in late February.
Much of Tipton Elementary is getting a facelift.
That includes new carpeting, paint and desks in classrooms. New flooring in elementary hallways replace the current surface that is at least a couple decades past its lifespan.
Renovated classrooms are waiting on storage cabinets. The renovation project has faced the typical delays, due to supply chains and material shortages.
A new STEM room in the elementary school allows for students to work on coding, robotics and other related skills. The room is big enough to accommodate multiple classes working on different activities.
“I love the space,” said teacher Danielle Hale. “I love how we can utilize space.”
“We’re really going to invest in robotics for the elementary,” Glaze added.
An old teacher’s lounge and custodian space was turned into additional space in the cafeteria. Restrooms were also added. School officials plan to have two grade levels eat lunch at a time starting next year.
The additional areas added to the library were unused spaces of the middle school library, which is right next to the elementary one.
“The elementary has very limited space,” Glaze said. “We wanted to make sure we gave them more.”
Glaze said Tipton Middle School probably has the largest number of renovations, though most won’t begin until this summer.
There are a number of temporary walls — holdovers from the 1970s and ‘80s — that will be removed. Glaze said many classrooms will be reconfigured.
Modernizing science labs and upgrading locker rooms are also on the list.
High school renovations are split into two phases.
Beefing up science rooms is phase one. Those rooms are being grouped together to promote collaboration. Every two science rooms have a shared preparation space. Moveable furniture allows classrooms to be easily reconfigured for labs.
There will be classrooms dedicated to robotics, advanced manufacturing and computer science.
“We’re putting a lot of money into those high-tech areas,” the superintendent said.
A total rebuild of the cafeteria was expected to begin over spring break, starting with demolition. A temporary kitchen will be used for the rest of the school year. Work should wrap up this summer.
Phase two should begin early next year. Glaze said the renovation project will touch every class at the high school.
A new media center (library) will be built where the current high school office is. This puts the library close to the gym. Glaze said this move is meant to show off the space more.
A student-run fan store and technology service area will be housed in the new media center.
There will also be an esports and instructional gaming area, along with a publication space for podcasts and TV and video broadcasts.
The gym floor and pool deck will be replaced as well.
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